February 22, 2011 by Willy Cardoso
What is the purpose of being educated? What’s the point of education? Why do we need a curriculum? Why do we let other people decide what we will study/learn? How often should we change, innovate, abandon, adopt, adapt, etc our educational practices? And based on what?
These are maybe unanswerable questions, but for me, questions of this nature should be in the core of anything that leans towards teacher development. I’ve heard many people say otherwise, ‘You’re crazy, teachers need practical tools, motivating activities, content-knowledge, technology, and many other things more important than philosophy.’
If you agree with the latter attitude, you’re finished with this piece and would probably be better off here.
If you consider thinking/reflecting/discussing/arguing/positioning oneself about questions like the ones above as important as anything else a teacher should be able to do, I invite you to join me in an effort to gather and produce some material that can be used in teacher education.
I’m thinking about short texts, videos, and follow-up questions or tasks, pretty much like an ordinary worksheet or lesson idea that a teacher trainer/developer/educator can use in a session. Whereas we have great posts and videos that challenge us to think more about education and not only about teaching, I feel we lack simple material to use with trainees in a more workshop-like lesson. (I chose the word simple, as the opposite of , erm… academic – so reading Durkheim, Dewey and Deleuze is cool, but won’t do much in this proposition – paraphrasing Einstein, let’s keep it simple, but not simpler)
A parenthesis here for EFL/ESL teachers: Apart fom being both great books, what is the difference between Teaching Unplugged and Learning Teaching in light of the above? Take a look at the introductory chapters of both books and pay attention to explicit educational background used by the authors to support their methodology (ok, dogme is not a method, but you understand what I mean) – Question: Does it matter?
I think it matters very much whether a teacher knows where her/his actions come from and how it contributes to a greater ‘plan’. Once teachers started to overtly propagate critical thinking in the classroom, it’s nothing but sensible to expect the same from them, and starting from the essence of what they do seems like a good option.
I’d like to kick this off with one of my favorite little, and simple, texts: The Sabertooth Curriculum
And here are some simple ideas of what to do after reading it.
So, that’s the idea basically. Would you like to share some interesting stuff? Leave a comment, send me a link, use your blog trackback, well you know, do it – and I’ll upload it here. And yes, before I forget, it’s not a blog challenge or meme, I’m tired of that. Take this as an invitation – to a party where everyone is both the host and the guest.
It just occured to me that a variation of my motto forget teaching, focus on learning is now taking shape in the TEFL/TESOL arena: forget training, focus on development, or something like that 😉