Sugata Mitra speaks truth but…

“Teachers are the way they are because of the examination system in schools. They don’t have a choice.” Professor Sugata Mitra

I agree, our examination system is ancient and horrible. Not to mention demeaning. It helps school communities to exist parallel to the ‘real world’ with the false assurance that we are preparing learners to eventually make the leap over to it.

We can talk about changing the evaluation and we will change teaching – and we need to talk about it. In the meantime, we are faced with the reality of the end of course evaluations and really? We don’t have a choice? That’s a cop-out if I ever heard one. Very easy to wash my hands of the whole matter and continue teaching irrelevant material to a roomful of bored, unchallenged, disengaged students.

Pfft.

When teachers tell me “I don’t have a choice but to teach the way I do”, I cringe. When they allow a test to be the sole indicator of the direction in which they will guide their students, I want to weep.

And when people talk about teachers as if they have no personal control or choice over how they teach, I want to scream.

You, Professor Sugata Mitra, have just given teachers the option, the permission, to float along and teach to tests and say it’s not my fault until the examination system gets changed. Bravo.

A more appropriate method

When a student complains about his teacher’s less than motivational teaching style, his school board replies that he did not complain appropriately.

How can he complain? What outlet do students have to express their concerns about their teachers? What is a more appropriate method?

If they are lucky they have found an adult at their establishment that they can confide in but even then…they are being heard but what is being done?

People (in schools) do not like to hear complaints about teachers. A public school teacher is still very untouchable.

University courses and professional development sessions always end with time for anonymous feedback to be given via evaluation forms. What if we did that in public schools? An evaluation form could certainly be adapted for different levels.

Could this help change teaching practices that don’t touch our students hearts?

Saving time while assessing

I was given some homework on Friday. It was to make a short video, talking to teachers about saving time in the classroom with oral assessments. Here you go, Marc ;)

I cannot underscore the value of talking to your students for evaluative purposes. Not only is it the quickest way to evaluate individual understanding with any kind of veracity but the very act of talking with our students helps us to see them. To really see them as people, as learners, as individuals in our classrooms.