Archive for August 26th, 2011
Taking photos of children was not my intention as I wandered along the harbour in downtown Toronto. These young people were learning about boating safety, particularly as it relates to canoes and kayaks. They sat still and listened well, obviously very motivated to learn. Yet, I would venture to say that in a few weeks once school has recommenced, the ability to sit still and listen with motivation will be a distant memory. Something vital changes within the school. For the most part, school is about teaching subjects, skills and habits with teachers trained and armed with all manner of teaching aides and pedagogy. Teachers want to teach and teach well so they spend countless hours becoming proficient in new methods for teaching Maths, Sciences and Language. So what happens in the schools that change the students from motivated and invested in learning to bored and distracted and often misbehaving children?
In a way, the answer lies above. Teachers focus on teaching subjects, presenting mastered content in as many varied activities as possible using creativity. But, the truth is, they are meant to be teaching students. But more importantly, teachers must realise that they are in effect teaching students who the teacher is. Not realising this, teachers divorce their authentic selves from the lessons. All the focus and energy is focused on the lesson. Any visiting principal or superintendent would have no doubts about the lesson being presented as one that is masterful. Yet, the lack of connect with the students is glaring. What the teacher is teaching is disconnected from the teacher and so therefore must not be of any real worth. And so, the students wait for those rare moments when the teacher connects with them with a persona value and passion for some topic. At those rare times, learning happens, students are motivated.
At the individual level we have a lesson to learn. If one is to learn and grow as an individual, one must follow one’s bliss.