25/08/2019

ARE YOU A MODERN LEARNER/TEACHER?

You can influence others with the way how you live your life. If you are a teacher (or a parent), your job gives you perfect ground for your belief/knowledge/skills (and whatnot) to be passed on.

So, being a teacher (and a parent!) is a very responsible job; it can be a blessing or ... a devil in disguise (You know. The saying. 'A road to hell is paved with good deeds.')

  But firstly, how was your education?


Think back. How did you learn in primary school, college, university? Did the teacher supply you with all the (already tested) information and you simply learnt and remembered it? Or, did they give you options to choose from and you tried them and saw what happened? A little bit of both, maybe?




I can say that all the way up to getting my BA, I was told what to learn and what was important. I got books (or listened to lectures), learnt what they said and produced the learnt knowledge back.

There were some professors who demanded 'the right' answers (which they advocated) and not the 'wrong ones' (which another professor advocated). 

(They were at loggerheads with each other, I learnt 😕.)

What I had established was that it was the authority who decided whether I knew something or not and it was the authority who let me pass the exams. My own thoughts/experiences were not of much importance to getting a degree.

I was taught traditionally.

TRADITIONAL TEACHING


The 'traditional concept' of teaching is when teachers direct students to learn through memorisation and recitation techniques, thereby not developing their critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making skills. 

Traditional teaching is often accompanied by books and exercise books where the subject matter and the answers are pre-arranged, fixed and final.




Traditional teaching teaches obedience, honouring the authority, following instructions and consequently, there is no need for the learner to accept any responsibility since nothing is the learner's choice. 

MODERN TEACHING/ EDUCATION



Modern ways of bringing knowledge to students seek to develop innate capacities of man by giving students some desirable knowledge, teaching them strategies, skills, attitudes and critical thinking so that they can educate themselves

Modern teaching develops autonomous learners with the ability to think for themselves and taking responsibility for their actions.  


The thin line of responsibility by Jani Prgić

responsibility
psychological freedom
choices
the red line 
shifting responsibility - searching for a scape goat
obligation - Because I must ...
excuses 
self-blame
denial
surrender

 

I TEACH WHAT I LIVE


Most of us were brought up by traditional teaching, therefore, we teach the way we've learnt. It's the 'curse' of tradition.

If I want to teach using modern ways, I first have to become an autonomous learner. 

I first got the idea what the autonomous learning is when I entered my post graduation studies. I was left to my own resources to find answers to various questions and then defending them.

It was a hell of a challenge for me; being used to learn what I was told and having all the answers already gathered for me (in a script or through lectures), I was put out of my comfort zone when being asked 'awkward' questions demanding my clarification or explanation of the answers I have come up with.

And even though some didn't agree with my view, it was fine. We agreed to disagree, and we moved on.

Wow. That was an enlightenment for me.

But, not until later, when I had already been teaching for sometime, did I become an autonomous learner.

For quite some time, when I enrolled for a workshop or seminar, I went there with an intention to 'collect' material with instructions which I would then use in my lessons accordingly. I rarely changed what I've been instructed; if I did, the change was not significant. I used to accept what the authority said and never doubted their decision. (I was a 'good' student.) 

Then, after a couple of years teaching children English, diligently following coursebooks and following every instruction told by the 'experts', my pupils, after four years of learning English (aged 9), still couldn't speak. They produced lots of vocabulary, but they couldn't communicate ...

I could have easily said, "Not my responsibility. It's the books." 

But I chose not to. My mindset suddenly switched and I decided to find a different way.



 

I became a modern learner. And, consequently, the PBA was born.

 

MODERN APPROACHES


In language education, let just mention some: CLIL, language immersion programmes, CBI and its PBA version (for young learners) and  sheltered learning.

If the definition of modern learning states that it is child-centred and educating students for autonomous learning, then I would say CBA and PBA are definitely among them. With immersion, sheltered learning and CLIL one may argue that they are teacher-driven approaches and, therefore, if the teacher is not used to modern learning, can be quickly turned into traditional teaching. 

CBA and PBA are more learning-to-learn oriented and promote learning knowledge, skills, strategies. They are both student-centered (the teacher is somewhere hidden, observing and mentoring) while the students do the job cooperatively, discussing the problem.

The workshop: Playing Games Is a Serious Business (PBA)

Many schools try to introduce modern methodology into their traditional teaching practice. Some successfully, others struggle. Judging by the general complaints about state education, be that from parents or teachers, the majority of schools are not very successful. 

Where is the catch?


THE WAY I LEARN IS THE WAY I TEACH

 

I believe that, no matter what your teaching aids are, no matter which methodology you use ... down the line it all comes to your mindset and your choices.

If you are a traditional learner, you may try any modern methodology but you will end up teaching traditionally.

On the other hand, if you are an autonomous learner, you may as well use a coursebook, but will soon tailor it (or discard it)  and find a way to bring subject matter closer to your students. 

And, of course, there is another think one should bear in mind; not everything in traditional teaching is bad and not everything in modern ways is gold. It all depends what you want to achieve with your students.

What do you think?

Best,

Mija

P.S.
If you're interested for the PBA workshops, read all about them on C00lSch00l website in English and Slovene.

P.P.S.
You can enrol  HERE.