Learning and teachers - Aussie Stock Forums

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  1. #1

    Default Learning and teachers

    Hi ASF community,

    I want to know a couple of things from you. How do you learn? How much of what goes in sticks - and what makes it stick? How do you construct knowledge of the world for yourself?

    Its a difficult question, but one worth considering.

    How has how you learned now changed since you left school? Was school conducive to helping you learn effectively?

    Also, what makes a great teacher?

    My old Ancient History teacher. After a string of shockers over five years, she was probably the only one who took an interest in asking me a few things about my life. She also had very clear expectations, drove us hard academically, and was encouraging. I really respected her.

    Out of around 30 teachers I came across, I have something fairly positive to say about probably 2.

    How is the school that your kids go to doing? Are you happy with the education they are receiving?

    Sir Ken Robinson 'Do Schools Kill Creativity?' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY


  2. #2

    Default Re: Learning and teachers

    Good topic, Brad.

    I'm part of a Youth Mentoring Program where we work with 'problem' students within the schools.

    I'm sad to say that about ten years of this has primarily demonstrated to me that the main function of most teachers in public schools is to just get through the basic curriculum if remotely possible, in the face of spending 50% of their time or more trying to deal with violent, or simply unco-operative and disrespectful students.

    This is really tough on the remainder of the kids who genuinely try to learn.

    It always comes back to the home environment. What is so common these days is parents who (despite being fully dependent on welfare) say to teachers "we pay your salary, and it's your job to teach my child, even if he/she is the worst little sod in the class". These parents abrogate all responsibility for the child's behaviour, and in any dispute, always take the side of the kid. To do otherwise would obviously implicate the home environment.

    Hopefully a somewhat different culture exists in private schools.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Learning and teachers

    Huge topic Brad.

    I attended a private school and then spent most of my career as an educational psychologist and Principal in the Govt system.

    It is easily said, but teaching is very challenging. Most of the teachers with whom I worked had a genuine love for children and did their best every day. Of course there were some, as in any profession, who were not skilled at their "job".

    Teachers, like children, need nurturing in order to perform at their best. We all need this.

    Teachers, whether in private schools or public, who treat children with respect will be treated with respect in return. This sounds easy but requires skill, perceptiveness and persistence.

    Private schools, of course, have the capacity to expel children. Public schools are more a representation of the real world - and that is why we chose for our own children to attend them.

    Parents are obviously the centre-point of their children's life education and their involvement in schools is very important.

    Most of my career was in disadvantaged areas where I was privileged to work with hundreds of children who were fabulous kids no matter what crossed their paths. And the vast majority of parents in these areas truly loved their children and wanted to work with the teachers so that their kids could do as well as possible.

    Naturally I came across the parents who couldn't give a damn --and they'd generally had poor school experiences of their own. So a little understanding went a long way.

    I work now as a consultant to all sorts of schools. In the leafy-green / wealthier areas it is usually the parents that are the greater challenge. There are those who tell their children that "Mrs X is JUST a teacher so what would she know?" That is very elitist and speaks volumes about those parents.

    Kids like rules - they like to know the boundaries and even to be able to negotiate them.

    I like to think I learn something from every experience. My experience is that most kids turn out to be good adults -- wherever they went to school. The capacity to come out of a poor episode in life, while remaining a grounded person, is something I have often observed and admired.

    School experiences are a part of our lives and do not dictate our futures -- The individual nature of the teachers that kids come across is just as varied in private schools as in public ones.

    Sometimes learning just to endure or enjoy the moment is the pathof choice.

    [Reading back on my post it looks a tad philosophical -- and it's a topic my keyboard will struggle to manage. I don't think I have any particular bias but I can only talk from personal experience].

    "The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away." Marcus Aurelius

  4. #4

    Default Re: Learning and teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by Julia View Post
    I'm part of a Youth Mentoring Program where we work with 'problem' students within the schools.

    This is really tough on the remainder of the kids who genuinely try to learn.

    Hopefully a somewhat different culture exists in private schools.
    I work in a private school in Australia, but have worked in the public system in London for a few years on and off.

    'The remainder of the kids' is the great tragedy here. Excellent classroom management and good professional development training should not allow the education of the majority to be taken away by the minority. Its just too important. How the teacher responds a) gives a lesson to the rest of the class in emotional intelligence, b) can diffuse or blow up a situation.

    Keep your voice down, your instructions clear, don't belittle the kid publicly, always treat the kid with respect and teachers will find that this is the most effective way of ensuring that everyone gets their education.

    I shudder to think that one of those good kids will sit around the kitchen table at 6pm and say, 'Mr Brad spent all lesson telling off Danny'. Not in my classroom!

    In my experience, parents need to be much more involved with their students schooling. Sometimes, they will stand up for their kids no matter what, sometimes they need an ally because they have no idea what to do.

    Interesting how quickly discussions of learning can get into welfare so quickly... Getting kids engaged and seeing worth in knowledge, learning, and connecting it to life chances is a real challenge in this environment.


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