June 10, 2011 by Willy Cardoso
Just read this:
Analyzing our autobiographies as learners has important implications for how we teach… the insights and meanings we draw from these deep experiences are likely to have a profound and long-lasting influence… we may think we’re teaching according to a widely accepted curricular or pedagogic model, only to find, on reflection, that the foundations of our practice have been laid in our autobiographies as learners. (Brookfield, 1995: 31 cited in Tennant, M., 2006:132)
Very true! I first realized that when I started to teach at a school that followed a more communicative approach (whatever that really means) instead of a ‘drill ’em to death’ approach; the latter being roughly how I was taught.
And then again many times I have realized that some of my beliefs regarding good practice are based on my autobiography no matter how much I read and study, and get trained up – I think that is what they mean by experiential learning. The interesting thing is that since I haven’t really been able to cease being a learner, my learner autobiography is something on-going and many times non-linear (in the sense that I don’t perceive a step-by-step progression and also that every now and then there is regression); therefore my teaching personality is also an unfinished project.
The act of reflecting over my autobiography is as far as I can see an inevitable instance of relativity, that is, of events that are dependant on psychological, social, and environmental currents and their residue – both the historical event being pondered over and the actual activity of pondering.
This leaves me with the feeling that if I take pieces of my own history as solved, closed cases, I will be denying the value of what I haven’t seen yet – back then and henceforth – and the value of how my future will change my perception of my past, which in turn may dictate my present actions.
Unlike school History, as an orderly subject, I would like my history to be webby and curly, full of loops and some dead-ends. It’s intricate and I’d like it to be insoluble. Not complicated; in fact, I often like things to be fairly simple. Not simpler, simple. Not complicated, yet complex.