I have been reading a number of posts recently about what is learning and the requirements of teaching that sometimes get in the way of real learning. This is one of those things that is constantly nagging at me while I progress through the BofEducation(Secondary) degree that I am currently undertaking. I had already formed strong views about learning and effective teaching during my years as a tertiary college instructor in Canada. During my current study I have focused on Australian secondary education, specifically in the teaching areas of Information Processing Technology (IPT) and Business, and have learned and followed the required curriculum.
In every practical experience that I have done so far I have noted that there never seems to be enough time to actually get to know the students. Of course, I am only there for 3 weeks and am learning the school’s culture, each teacher’s teaching preferences & styles etc and so it’s always very full-on. But I still worry that I’ll be one of those stressed-out teachers with not enough time, struggling to tick all the boxes and yet not actually get to really foster a good relationship with my students…..a relationship that bypasses the usual typical hierarchical, rewards-driven type of teacher/student relationships that I commonly see.
Here’s a recent blog post from the Cooperative Catalyst called “Teachers Need Less Support” I think the title is a bit misleading but the point is well made. I have heard many teachers complain about the increased amount of documentation required within their teaching and yet it has to be questioned whether this amount equals the gains (or loss) for the student/teacher relationship.
Then of course there is the age-old question of What is learning? Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D. on her User Generated Education blog recently discussed this in her post called “Learning on the edge”. I participated in answering this question on an online forum in one of my first year subjects and I found the variety of answers to be very interesting. I believe that learning is much more than the academic part of structured schooling. In my opinion I have learned more from my experiences interacting with people and traveling & living in different countries. The problem I see is how do I capture this or foster this type of thinking/learning with only 3 lessons per week within a culture that doesn’t trust students & teachers to have open-access to the Internet and is built on the short-term foundations of a rewards-driven environment.