Saturday, February 11, 2006

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!

I have some serious issues, but I am not allowed to tell you what they are. You see, I just finished the first week of my teaching practicum. As per the rules of professional conduct and etiquette in my profession, I am not allowed to speak ill of my peers and colleagues, and if I have a beef I have to go to them first, and then the administration, and then up the hierarchy.

However, I AM allowed to say that my first week was very enlightening. It was interesting to observe that so many of the theories espoused in my classes are not actually being implemented in the classrooms I have been privy to. Many of the management techniques that researchers deem to be effective and pro-social are also not being favoured over traditional reward/punishment paradigms. I can see wher
e some of the newer ideas on learning are being incorporated into lessons piece by piece; as a whole, however, social constructivism and authentic learning have not been universally adopted, and the boring pen-and-paper method still seems to predominate, at least where I'm at.

Looks like this is going to be a long practicum. Since I am required to follow pretty closely with the management strategies outlined by my mentor teacher, I don't get a lot of freedom to change things around to be more consistent with my worldview. Wish me luck, folks! It sucks when theory and practice are so far removed from each other!


German said...

Man, I really wish teachers can become dynamic and intersting in every lesson. But it's so fucking hard. I have nil time to be creative. Which is really a shame. We should really talk about this some more

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I think, when we run out of ideas (and we all will, inevitably), we need to enable students to construct their own learning. If it is engaging to them, and relevant to their lives, they will be hungry to learn. It's just that many teachers have a hard time letting go of control.

You seem like a pretty creative teacher to me! Sometimes low student motivation isn't a reflection of our ability so much as it is a reflection of the irrelevance of our subject (as perceived by the kids). Unfortunately, many of us are bound by our curriculum. The system needs to change!