Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pause, Breathe, Reflect

Many thanks to the ever insightful shanetechteach for his comments and extended reflection over on Talkin' 'bout my cerebration: The Importance of Letting Go around mentoring pre-service teachers.

His comment and challenge to reflect on...
  1. Is the learning you are proud of existent due to you?
  2. Could the students (and do they) demonstrate the same learning in other classes?
  3. Are you establishing yourself or the students as the dependent factor in this learning equation?
...is definitely food for thought.

Of course I want my students to succeed, regardless of possible variables (teacher, season, the progress of Australian Idol), really they need to be dependent on themselves when it comes to their learning. It's key that that they take responsibility for where they're at and sourcing what it is they need in order to learn the best they can (in any subject).

I admire the challenge Shane has set the preservice teacher he is currently working with - that the content is to come from the students themselves. I know a lot of confident teachers who would certainly find that challenging. I haven't set a similar challenge, I've held back for a couple of reasons - primarily because the approach is so far from anything they're familiar with and I like to ease them in.

Maybe I'm not as brave as Shane, maybe I should be.

I am in the lucky position to connect with a couple of colleagues working with the next generation of teachers. These colleagues are working hard to encourage these students to think of new ways of teaching, but there's still a strong focus on "traditional" teaching. Whether that's a mindset ingrained and reinforced because that's the educational model they experienced themselves in school, or because that's the only model we have to use as a measuring stick and therefore the only model we "teach" them to teach?

Oi, I sense a thinking loop beginning...

How do we shift this thinking and transform education?

I suspect that Shane's direct approach of pushing people beyond their comfort zone will have more of an impact compared to my "softyly, softly" approach.

No comments: