It’s hard to believe, but the first term (which translates as the first half of Semester 1) of the 2015 school year has already been and gone! Like my other Australian teaching colleagues, I’m enjoying a little respite with a two week vacation before heading back to school, books and work.
It’s most probably a reflection of my age, that this cartoon, which I came across last year when I was ambling around the web, made me giggle, reminisce and reflect – all at once. This 1952 Disney short follows Goofy’s attempts to teach, and control, his students. It’s an old-school cartoon slapstick focusing on old school education, with apples for the teacher, kids using catapults and lots of pointing at maps of the world.
Education sure has moved a long way since we were in school. Yes indeed, as said at the start of the video, teachers must be fair, understanding, honest and intelligent. But we all know that the demands today are so much more than this.
So, even now, when we are taking a break, thoughts continue to swill around:
- How can we do it better?
- How can we create more enthusiasm with what we do?
- How can we ensure that we retain our relevancy in the classroom?
The questions keep coming – don’t they?
Earlier this year I read a great post via my LinkedIn account, a post by James Shea: Facebook and the e-lephant in the room – are you still their teacher? (January 15, 2015) With a rare clarity, Shea describes the very real situation which all teachers face repeatedly: our students are using apps and web tools that we’ve yet to master.
What you do need to know is that students are using the latest technology to tap into more knowledgeable others: whether that more knowledgeable other is an app, a website or a learning community. Once you realise this you can encourage your students to better evaluate the learning they are getting from this technological more knowledgeable other. You can flip the classroom and get students inspired to use their technology to enhance your lessons, not hinder them.”
How confident are we to let our students enhance what we do in the classroom? How confident are we to work together with our students, calling on their skills to enhance the lessons we present?