Monday, June 27, 2005

Putting the heart back into teaching.

Education leading from the heart. Posted by Hello

Learning is about relationships. Relationships with content and with people who help us acquire it. It is about having mind changing experiences that tap into our desire to make meaning and express what we know.

To be attracted to an area of learning relates to what attracts our attention and whether or not we want to put in the energy in to learn more. Curiosity is at the basis of all learning.

All too often this emotional attraction to learning is neglected by our schools who still cling on to the idea that learning is transmitted from those who know (best) to those who don’t. And that this learning can be measured and ‘gaps’ remedied by further instruction.

Learning cannot be improved by an obsession with hard data about achievement or by an obsession with raising test scores; or by more of the same.

If schools want to improve the learning of their students they will have to change their own minds first and see learning from the perspective of their learners. To do this they will need to tap into the heartfelt hopes of their students to be competent in their learning, to develop a positive learning identity - and this is in conflict with current imposed curriculums and preset criteria.

The only way to ensure all students learn is for schools to reinvent themselves as learning communities where students feel a sense of belonging, a connectedness with their culture, and supported by others involved in the process. They need to be helped to feel that are agents in their own learning endeavors.

If schools were to see the developing of each learner’s special array of talents as their true mission then the whole concept of school would change from transmission of prescribed knowledge to personalizing teaching to assist each student construct their own learning; seeing each learner as creators of their own learning.

Learning is a passionate adventure and too easily turned off by teachers trapped in a mechanistic system that has little use for subjectivity and love of learning.

Until this fragmented mindset is changed students will continue to fall through the ever widening cracks.

It is time to put the heart back into teaching – we have been led by a cool logic that has excluded students from feeling emotionally involved in their own learning.

Teaching is more about artistry than the pseudo science we have been pretending it is.


Anonymous said...

Our schools are toxic environments for creativity - they may be OK for bland achievement; suitable only for teachers and students who have learnt to play the game. They are dysfunctional environments that care little for affairs of the heart and cultivating a passion to learn - too difficult to measure! Instead they place mechanistic organisational structures above the power of creating a culture of 'teacher-artists' dedicated to encouraging students to express their full range of innate talents.

Bruce said...

Although there is truth in what you say - schools have never been hotbeds of creativity - things aren't that bad?

True they encourage certain types of intelligences over others, and their structures do get in the way of integrated learning.

But I agree, we do need new schools designed for the students' future rather than ones based on our past.

Anonymous said...

Children soon learn whether or not the teacher values and respects their ideas and point of view. This is the main prerequisite to good student-teacher relationships and the possibility of real learning.