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How Do I Make Choices About Who I Am as a Teacher?
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The target appears to be to pass exams. There are many students who are attending schools now who are untouched, unmotivated and leaving uneducated. These are the doers, the kinaesthetic learners, the ones who will make things and invent things or be great athletes or adventurers. Yet they leave their education filled with the knowledge that they have failed because they did not fit the mold.
As human beings we are all good at something. Not so good at something else. Missing is the bit that respects each person for their strengths and their abilities. Seen as desirable is being best, being top,. Part of education is socialisation. The students in a classroom form a mini version of society. There they will meet and have to deal with all kinds of personalities — some they will get along with, others will be more challenging. Learning the social skills required to be a contributing member of society should be a valid and valued aspect of being in a classroom.
Learning to communicate, compromise, support and be supported — these are all valuable aspects of any person and any society. These are just some of the reasons why I feel the way I do about schools nowadays. Learning how to learn is very important. Children are born knowing how to learn through their own explorations and discoveries, but there is much more to learning than that. There comes a time when it is valuable to learn from others who have done it before, but only when the time is right for each learner.
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I agree with you too about the focus of schooling being too narrowly academic. There is much more to life than the three Rs. They are important too, essential in fact, but so are many other areas, especially social emotional development. And as you say, there are children people with a whole range of interests and abilities.
The Contented Classroom
We make a good team, you, me and Ken Robinson, and many others as well. Respect is definitely THE important ingredients, essential in every part of life. Children are no less worthy. They are more worthy. They need to see it modeled so they can learn it. They need to receive it so they can return it. They need to feel it and experience so that they understand how it feels for another. I think we could talk forever about how things could be improved.
The way he was treated at school makes me want to cry. And these were Catholic schools. He is a strong resilient man. He needed to be. We could all learn a lot from him. Thank you for adding your further wisdom to this post. I love these conversations. I like nodding heads in agreement. I bought my ebook from Amazon and my audiobook from itunes.
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I am happy to source one here for you if wish. Did I write this comment here? I rant on about our education system everyday in a similar vein. As you know, I work in a main stream school supporting students with autism. Trying to fit their needs into our ever decreasing curriculum is a creative challenge in itself. In the UK we got rid of one Education Secretary only to be saddled with his clone. There is less and less opportunity for creative lessons.
Exams are key. Our kids are treated like robots. Yet given half the chance most of them come up with something amazingly inventive. Who will be the creators, the inventors, the artists and the writers.
I could go on for days. Very interested that you taught in a Steiner School. A very good friend of mine was educated in one. There is one in East Grinstead, long established in the south east and another I know of is near Totnes in Devon. Thank you for visiting with Pauline, Jenny. If only Education Secretaries, or Ministers as we call them in Australia, knew something about children, their needs and how they learn.
Interesting you say that you could go on for days. It was just such a comment made by Pauline that brought her this way with her guest posts. I look forward to further conversations, Jenny. I think we have much to discuss.
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Thanks for dropping by. Thanks, Anne. Though I would have to say that, although I enjoyed my years working with children, I would like to see big changes in the way education is offered with smaller community-based schools that encourage parental involvement, as opposed to the large institutions that tend to focus more on conformity than individuals. Educators, mentors and guides would still be important. This is what I was aiming for with my alternative to school.
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Learn how your comment data is processed. Pauline, please tell us a little about yourself. What things are most important to you? What do you hope to achieve through blogging? Pauline, you were a teacher? What was it that attracted you to teaching in the first place? What things did you love about teaching?
You said that you spent many years attempting to establish an alternative school for your eldest daughter. Why was this important to you?
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