Class Room Practice

Clarence Fisher blogging at Remote Access is thinking about the changes we need to make in the way we run our classrooms and what we do there to take full advantage of the new tools at our disposal. My comment to him was:-

I too am thinking about the changes which need to take place in the classroom. Here in Scotland, there is a lot of forward thinking about the new technologies and tools, but often it's using them to do the same old thing. For example, podcasting is thought of as a new way of teaching literacy. This is true and it does get results but it is so much more!

This was something of a cop out. What do I mean when I say more? If enough young people write enough heartfelt blogs and record enough heartfelt podcasts will they change the world? Maybe….. I am not certain. However, if we prescribe what should be written in school blogs, I know nothing will change.

Will Richardson in his keynote at the eLive in Edinburgh talked about imagination and making connections. Teachers perhaps need to fire up imaginations and then provide connections to knowledge, to experts, to other young people, to whatever takes your fancy. So how do we do we stimulate imagination? Can we or should we even try to focus it? And to do this, how do teachers behave and what do they actually do when facing a class?

At the moment, I find myself very short of answers…..

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2 thoughts on “Class Room Practice

  1. ” So how do we do we stimulate imagination? Can we or should we even try to focus it? And to do this, how do teachers behave and what do they actually do when facing a class?”
    Coming to this months too late, I feel moved to respond!
    Working backwards, I think that what a teacher does when facing a class is the result of a process of trust-building. When I really knew a class – and they really knew me – I didn’t even think about what I was doing or how they’d react; it was like settling down for a period of interaction between old friends (or sparring partners!) And in that atmosphere anything I felt passionate about would tend to rouse their interest and often their enthusiasm. Take the teaching of poetry – my particular passion. I always knew that I had to overcome the indifference and hostility to the subject built up over years of neglect or uninspired teaching, so I’d begin with that assumption.

    By the end of one half-term I had an entire class of 14 year old mixed-ability boys writing poems in the style of one by Edwin Morgan and then writing to him proudly to tell him about it and send him their work. Their imagination had been freed up by the literature we’d studied – and it was *real* literature, not dumbed-down stuff I’d never read for my own pleasure.

    Maybe the secret lies just there. Teach what excites you – and don’t be afraid to let your excitement show. I always thought I was fortunate to teach English, but I could be equally enthusiastic these days about the technology to which we had only sporadic access in a department which was only just beginning to realise how many computers you needed to make any real impression.

    But that was another post of yours, wasn’t it?

  2. I am sure you are right. The teachers I remember from 50 years ago are those with passion and commitment. You also mention what is essentially mutual respect beween teacher and class.

    My latest post does suggest that we do have enough hardware to adequately provide for the needs of most pupils.

    I have recently witnessed an incredibly boring lesson on automation using reasonably cutting edge technology. Technology is only a means to an end. Context and content is all.

    This afternoon I gave an in-service (In-Set) on Interactive Whiteboards and I hope I demonstrated how they facilitate group discussion by getting every teacher up to the board several times. IWBs can of course just be very expensive blackboards which a nineteenth century teacher would quickly feel at home with.

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