I’ve just had a revelation.
I think I may be closer to truly understand the difficulty of teaching. It is only my sense of challenge and a deep love for children that stops me from turning back here and now, giving up teaching as a useless enterprise, that is bound to fail no matter what you try.
For my sociology of education class, I’m reading a book by John Holt, called “How Children Fail”. It illustrates the mindboggling gap between an adult’s perspective and a child’s perspective. A teacher might think they’ve got a fool-proof strategy to catch the student’s attention, interest him and make him think. Well, tough luck, the student finds it pointless, confusing and unknowingly finds countless techniques of figuring out the “right” answer without understanding what we want them to understand, or thinking in the way that we want them to think. This however, although highly interesting, was not what lead to my revelation. My own experiences did.
I am also presently writing a short essay on education and was thinking of important factors of education that have little to do with the class material. Things like learning how to learn, creativity, social skills, self-esteem, to name a few. Now if anyone has studied in the international school system, you might frown slightly and start rummaging your brain, thinking, why does this sound familiar? No…? Do any of these ring a bell? “Apprendre a apprende” “Homo Phaber” “Environment” “Comunaute et service” and “Sante et formation sociale”. That’s what I thought too… and I was astonished to see find that, while I found all of this to be utter rubbish while I was in school, I find now that it’s a splendid idea! Once again… an adults view about what children perceive is out of tune with reality. You see, the people in charge of reforms, special school systems and the like, might have the best intentions going in, but unless they truly understanding how children feel they can only make half-blind guesses at the effective way to teach them.
This being said, all this work is not going to waste. My younger sister, who incidentally is studying in the same system but at an elementary rather than high school level, finds these teaching strategies as interesting as anything else in school. She doesn’t have a particular passion for “apprendre a apprende” or “santé et formation sociale” but unlike me, finds them quite tolerable and engaging. Maybe the mistake in my particular experience with the international school system it’s age inappropriateness.
Can I show kids what I find important in a way they can relate to? Challenge accepted!