Monday, 20 June 2016

Corporate Classrooms

Maybe I should rename my blog name 'Devil's Advocate', as it seems I like playing that part at the moment...

There are some exciting and wonderful changes happening in our education system at the moment. Teachers are teaching collaboratively and coaching students, students are questioning and problem solving and of course, much, much more. Teachers are stepping back from the chalk face in a figurative and literal sense. They are facilitating learning through clever questioning, guiding students towards relevant resources/learning experiences and encouraging discussion/socially constructed knowledge.

I wish I could go through primary school again and have the experience of setting learning goals, having some choice in my learning experiences and working independently through a timetable of 'must-do's' and 'can-do's'.....or do I?

One of the most glorious aspects of childhood is the lack of responsibility and stress and instead the security of following the directions set by caring, thoughtful and trustworthy adults. Okay, that's not entirely true....following directions given by adults is probably not high on a child's list of 'glorious' things but it does allow children to relax and be guided by those who have more experience/wrinkles.

I'm back to talking about moderation again....about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We don't want to look back on this time in education one day and realise we created a generation of young adults who are stressed out and extremely serious. Education seems a very intense business these days. Children are expected to help set learning goals (not an easy task really because you often don't know what you don't know), work independently a lot, collaborate often (even adults find this hard), solve problems, critically evaluate, self-assess, peer assess, question, summarise, synthesise.....and actually know what most of those words mean. Don't get me wrong, these are all wonderful skills and necessary for success in a 21st century world, however, I'm tired just thinking about it. Not to mention the stress that teachers are under....this has to be transferring to the students in some way or another.

Is there enough of a focus on children being relaxed, happy and feeling safe/secure at school? Or are we creating a corporate environment in classrooms. It's just a question.

On balance, I think yes, I do wish I could back through my primary school years and have the opportunities that students are having today because after all, steaming through those SRA cards independently while the teacher did reading tests was one of my favourite things to do at primary so I think I would have relished the chance to timetable my day and be more of an independent learner. Plus I was bossy so I loved group work/collaboration, it gave me the opportunity to hone my 'leadership' skills.

I just think it's important to remember we are educating children and ensure they get their carefree childhood as well.

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