Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Learning Assassains

Last month I blogged briefly about the idea of a 'good' teacher and I shared a slideshow from Slideshare. That blog post had been sparked by my recent attempts to convey to a colleague what I believe it is that makes an effective teacher - what skills and personal attributes would I see when looking at them. With these thoughts still turning over in my brain I came across John Costilla's most recent blog entry over at CR2.0 and it struck a chord.

His blog, entitled, "Favourite and NOT so Favourite Classrooms" draws on a list of student responses to what their favourite and not so favourite classrooms. You can find the complete list HERE - it's a very interesting read and in all honesty, I understand where the kids were coming from. Personally, I don't like classrooms described as:

"It is dull and slow, with lots of work. The teacher is good but the room is sterile. There are no friends, just a bunch of loud mouths in the room."
"After you get done with the work, you just sit there and stare at the walls."
"Having hard seats and no foot room is a real problem."

Those are learning killers for me, how about you? Would you enjoy it? Would you walk away having learned something in that sort of environment?

I sat through two hours of Professional "Learning" last night in a classroom where the environment was not comfortable, with uncomfortable chairs, excessively long (and content which was questionably relevant) powerpoint slideshows, presenters (teachers) who didn't know their content and who committed a myriad of presenting sins (completely reliant on their slides, spoke too softly, failed to establish a rapport with their audience). In the end I walked away feeling like I'd learned very little of worth.

chair in upstairs classroom

Image from penelopejonze
How many of our students leave our rooms feeling that way and what can we do to turn that around? How can we avoid the Learning Assassains leaving our classrooms devoid of life and learning?

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