Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why do we do what we do?

One of the biggest challenges in education is critical reflection.
It is a challenge because without it we (educators) do what we have always done and what was done to us. Why wouldn't we , we are a successful outcome of a western education system so why not replicate it.
My belief is that we should reflect deeply on all that we do, and be immersed in the best research and studies about teaching and learning so that we might improve our learning environments. You may think I am stating the obvious but if reflective practice was occuring regularly in our schools why are so many practices the same as what was evident 20-30 years ago?
Why in many schools:
- Are there still "Parent, Teacher " interviews without the child present?
- Do we still have seating that is all groups or all in single tables?
- Do teachers ask most of the questions in the classroom?
- Is homework unchanged from our parents day?
- Are lessons set between 9:00 and 3:00 and children at 5 years have the same length day as children at 12 years in NZ?
- Do we get children to line up in two straight lines
- Do we give the message to parents and children that successful learners are "Good and listen to the teacher and don't talk" rather than "Creative, questioning, critical, collaborative, interacting and active"
- Do children still not know what they are learning, why they are learning it and are aware of the success criteria
- Are facts and memorising information for tests valued
- Do we still teach topics (on a bi annual cycle) that often have no meaningful link to the child's world

I believe that if we are reflective, look at Best Practice Evidence and research about learning we might just challenge the above which are at the tip of the iceberg in terms of questionable practice in schools in 2011.