Sunday, 29 June 2014

Some interesting thoughts from my reading

As you know, I've been reading Cook-Sather et al. and I've stumbled upon a few quotes which I find of interest, so I thought I would explore them here.

The first is that they write that 'Our students are not who we were, and in order to challenge, engage and motivate them, we need to respond to who they are as learners' (Cook-Sather et al., 2014). This made me think instantly about my own practice, and how sometimes I do find myself emulating a particular style of teaching that I responded to when I was in school, because I somehow think that what worked for  me will work for my students as well. However, I'm starting to see that actually that doesn't work at all; some students might respond to it, but the majority probably won't because they're the product of a different time and place. I really do need to start to listen more to my students, and teach in a way that is reflective of what they want.

Another quote is from a student who was part of a faculty-student partnership. Essentially, they state that the experience helped them grow as a learner because it allowed them to understand a) how they learnt and b) how to better learn from others as a result. It wasn't until they stepped back from their own learning, observing other classes, that they truly began to realise how other people (students and teachers alike) relate to a class. It made me think that maybe we should begin to train students in how to observe lessons, much like what happens when we have formal lesson observations, only perhaps in a less judgemental way. If we had students observe lessons that they were not a part of, and then had them comment on what worked and what didn't work in that lesson for the students who were participating, I bet we could get some really valuable information on improving our practice. However, I reckon that some members of staff would feel uncomfortable with the thought of students evaluating their lessons. That being said, if the observation wasn't necessarily a judgement based on OFSTED criteria, but was instead on how the learners engaged with the lesson, or essentially how they learnt, then perhaps they wouldn't find it as uncomfortable. I don't know, it's just an idea.

Watch this space; I may add more comments as I continue reading throughout the day.