Tuesday, February 15, 2011


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! 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Of snow storms and srawberries

It's snowing in Montreal. A thick white carpet covers the streets. A young girl sits in bed with her friend the laptop, typing away. A colourful string of lights illuminates the room. (said room is a mess, but we'll ignore that fact till the morrow). Our damsel collects her thoughts, pondering on the next line. Why did she start writing in the first place? But of course! Exhausted after her busy day, she sat quietly with a friend, exploring the wonders that the internet holds, and realized that she is tiered no longer. What more natural thing to do, than type away (especially if your fingers keep mixing up keys, your mind mixing up words and your imagination mixing up ideas). For instance, let's examine for a moment where the strawberries in the title came from... This is a most noble and ambitious quest! Perhaps a tad bit too ambitious for our young friend, who is at long last willing to succumb to the beckoning calls of sleep. Let her drift away into the ever-changing, unexplored waters of the dream world. Let her sink into the soft and soothing form that is her pillow. Let her be shielded from the elements, while deep in slumber she regains strengths. Let her be for she will likely make more sense in a more rested state. Let her be, we shall learn of the strawberries that trouble her so upon a different hour. Let her be and think not of what is not meant to be thought. You too my friend, be free. Go, frolic away, fast as the wind. Slide away, smooth as the river. Go. Be. Or if being pleases thee not, than be gone.