Monday, February 18, 2013

Bringing Trust in Classrooms

On Freedom and discipline:
Wow! It is student vs. teachers now! State legislatures want to protect student's ideologies. Teachers may want to question it.

But, is the teacher still a 'teach'er if she is not adding to  students' perspective or intellect or is not encouraging an environment conducive to arguments and contests on different theories?!
(I think that such a teacher is reduced to a speaker, who just speaks without contributing.)

The choice of adopting an ideology is the individual's right, but it is teacher's duty to help contesting different ideologies. Informed decisions, anyone?

Then there is 'pettifogging' over what constitutes as appropriate teaching and topics for a class. This debate automatically calms down, in my head, when the teacher decides that the sole purpose of her teaching is to have efficiently taught her subject of expertise to her students. This sole purpose of efficient teaching is bound to take up so many resources that the teacher will hardly have any resources left for conducting irrelevant discussions in the class.

The risk that the teacher might misuse her position in the class, for example we have the teacher in Brevard Community College, who imposed her political inclination on her students, automatically vanishes as every working moment for the teacher is spent in helping her students do their best in the class!

Drawing the Lines:
Ideally (in my head) the teacher would facilitate both the learning and un-learning of every one in the classroom. Learning and un-learning require challenging our current understanding. Of course, there is no growth without change in dimensions and morphology of our perspectives.

It would be ideal to have a middle ground where the teacher is not 'indoctrinating' because everyone in the class room has a mind- open to challenge, bare for discussion, and ready to be hurt - in the process of learning. And, this includes the teacher's mind.
This way the teacher will not be guilty of imposing her philosophy (because she also contested her own ideology) and at the same time would have challenged the students to step outside their boxes and appreciate diversity

Hand in hand- Trust, openness, and enquiry: 
A wonderful blog discussing the merits of educating students abroad 'Becoming a Student in your own Classroom'  gave me my new fav catchline- "become a student in your own classroom".

Learning, that brings along with it changes in perspective, knowledge, and /or belief system, is a very sensitive process. It is remarkably inconvenient and is seldom painless. As such for a successful teacher-student relationship, there must be trust that encourages everyone in the classroom to be open to being hurt in the process of learning and un-learning.

(Here is an example of experiences that can lead to dramatic breaking down of such trust.)

Ideally, teacher would trust herself and her intentions enough to welcome criticism and encourage students to question everything. Students would return the trust by being open to critiquing whatever they have already learnt and welcoming new learnings.

Young student learning to write 
Effective learning will not be possible without both students and teachers understanding their freedom to participate in discussions in an academic setting and be heard.  So, although debatable (+ I hope we will discuss this in PFP class today), it will be helpful to assure teachers that they can express their personal opinions and thereafter initiate meaningful discussions.
From Statement on Graduate Students handout- 'Moreover, because of their advanced education, graduate students should be encouraged by their professors to exercise their freedom of “discussion, inquiry, and expression.'

Shouldn't this be true, for everyone, in any classroom?

1 comment:

  1. I think you have a very good point. So long as a teacher is equally fair and points out possible criticisms on every topic covered, I don't think there's a risk of treating certain things unequally and imposing an ideology. Students should learn to question and criticize, and the teacher shouldn't be afraid to be a role-model for that activity.