Mr. Wasserman re-directs

Thanks to Jose for pointing me towards Mr. Wasserman who I NEED to applaud for writing this:

I don’t want this to be a complaining post. Nobody likes reading those, for starters, and May is such a great time of year to try to be happy. So instead, I’ve been thinking about things I can do which will raise my ability to respect myself as a teacher, which should translate into improvements, at least in my immediate sphere.

I’m digging the way he re-focuses his malaise towards what we can do to create positive change. How many times have I heard complaints about how our students:

It is rare that I see someone considering what to do as an alternative to complaining. Mr. Wasserman reflectively concludes:

But I want to focus on giving my students only meaningful work to do, only things that have a clear value to them. the trick, I suppose, is to figure out what those things are.

Yes, that is the trick. And I think it is really easy to do –> We need to spend more time talking with our students than at them. Well, at least the first part is easy. The second part is integrating what we find out with the curriculum we are teaching. I think that is what makes teaching an art.

I’ll be heading back to read Mr. Wasserman again.
Thanks Jose.

Ethics in the classroom and common ground

I have been involved in a very stimulating conversation on Durff’s blog around the issue of ethics in the classroom.

Both Durff and I agree that ethical behaviour must be stressed in the classroom and modeled by teachers. I think you can tell from our comments that we are both quite passionate about this.

Where our views start to differ is how this is done. You can read about our differing viewpoints in the comments to the original post – what I find interesting is the conversation that has developed.

Ethics is messy – it really does have to do with our own world-views and it can be messy and difficult to talk about the things that really matter to us, the things that hit us in our gut, that touch our values around what it means to be human. The rub in all of this is that we do not all have the same values nor the same world view.

Two of my beliefs related to this topic:

I do think it important – indeed necessary – to create a common ground in order to be able to have conversations around ethics, in order to be able to teach about ethics.

In trying to understand Durff’s insistence on an ethical plumbline, I wonder if perhaps this common ground is something along the lines of what she means.

Such a common ground for me would have to:

What would be important for you to have in this common ground?

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