This morning I decided to pay a visit to Steve Ransom’s blog since it had been a while and I found these words of wisdom in Integrate or Integral:
So, I think the work that still needs to be done is to help bring
vision back to teachers who have lost it, to help teachers no longer
excited about learning new things find that spark, to rekindle their
desire to connect with students, to help teachers take risks and to
make failure safe, to reward collaboration and innovativeness, to
foster a community of practice… I think THIS is where technology
becomes integral. Any less, and technology, at best, is integrated. At
Steve got to the heart of what I think to be integral for education reform in this paragraph.
Lately I’ve been spending time reading and reflecting on Pete Reilly’s blog as well and I have read similar thoughts there.
In essence, education reform needs to be humanistic, focusing on the human relationships that can be cultivated amongst teachers, focusing on real needs.
As I’ve quoted here earlier,
“…classroom teachers are the only real agents of school reform. It is
teachers who translate policy into action; who integrate the complex
components of standards, curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment into
comprehensible and pragmatic instruction; and who balance an
ever-changing array of political, economic, social, and educational
factors while trying to meet the individual needs of children.”~Ending the Silence by Donna M. Marriott (2003)
Address the real needs of teachers and the needs of students will in turn be addressed. I guarantee it.
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My gut response is to figure out why these attitudes and assumptions are being made and to challenge them, to create learning situations that challenge those attitudes. Those who are too set in their attitudes and are uncomfortable with the challenges, well, maybe they’ll make things easier by re-thinking their chosen profession.
At the same time, when I was a preservice teacher my courses were taught to me in the traditional manner – lecture, note-taking, tests, the occasional group project.
Last year I taught a few guest lectures at McGill, where I received my BEd, and it shocked me to see that the majority of the classes were still taught in that manner. There are courses on technology in education, but I did not see or hear of (I asked the students I met) many courses where technology was integrated into their learning to the extent that we are asking teachers to integrate it into their teaching.
There’s my gut reaction for now….
Your post made me think about this even more… and I have been thinking about it for a long time now. I think this is such a hard thing to combat, as i see it in my preservice teachers long before they even enter the teaching profession. For many, they rise to every challenge put before them. They don’t see the challenges as excuses or back doors. If they fail, they may hurt, but they still chalk it up to experience and learn from it. They strive for excellence. For others, it’s all just so hard… so unfair… so much work. They don’t ask questions and then are upset when they don’t receive a ‘free ride’. They do the minimum to get by. They attribute failure to external factors beyond their control… I won’t go on any more here. What I am saying is that for many, attitudes are set long before they even enter the classroom. That is where I am right now as I teach preservice teachers. How do we combat it at this level?