JohnSWilson3 Blog

Thoughts on Education
May 8, 2011, 7:55 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes

Here are some thoughts I shared from a previous post with a dear sister in Christ. I have edited and expanded it in some areas.

As a public school teacher, teaching science I have realized more than ever that the education system is meant primarily to support our economy…I think there is a place for public or private or home school education. Some students would probably learn better in one of the three. Think that in some corners their is a realization that students learn differently, not all will go to college, and that everyone has a different talent for different purposes. As a note, I find that those students who are the disobedient in the classroom tend to be the dominant and performing personalities who need appropriate and creative ways to express themselves in the classroom environment instead of trying to force them to sit still and be quiet. Dominant personalities tend to be natural leaders and can help students work together in completing tasks while performing personalities help liven’ up the classroom and not take things too seriously. It maybe that many teachers tend to be the steady and perfectionist personalities who are trying to make all students steady and perfectionist versus helping to “train them up in the way they should go” so to speak, which has obvious implications with parenting by the way.

One key thought in today’s education is the need to have student-centered learning environments in the classroom. This is where the focus is on the student doing most of the participating while the teacher does some instruction but in general is mainly considered a facilitator of learning. I think too often we attempt to train or teach someone how we were taught thinking for some reason every person can be taught the same way using the same methods. So if they aren’t “getting it” then something must be “wrong” with them, versus seeing the problem is really with how students are being taught. It means for the teacher to step out of our comfort zones, become more demonstrative, become more open to understanding each student, putting yourself in their shoes, and to help them learn how to learn. I have often found a last minute change, sometimes in the middle of a lesson turned out to be one of the better teaching moments. Having students more responsible for their own learning and participating in doing the learning is a win-win for student and teacher.

It is also important to recognize that students are human and they are learning responsibility, learning to live in community which means learning to understand each others differences and uniqueness since it often brings conflict when learning to work together. I intentionally set students up in groups on the first day of school and in the first week help them learn how to work together and to deal with conflict when it occurs. This doesn’t mean conflict won’t happen but it will be recognized that it will happen and students have some edge in knowing what to do when it does happen. I will have to say though that even with this initial learning that the “old man” comes up in the students and many will not recognize how to deal with the conflict and not do so very appropriately. But this brings a unique opportunity to help them learn to resolve the conflict and learn more about each other and understanding one another better. Often I tell the students that while it is important to do your best and learn as much as you can it really is all about relationships. If we go out into the world and do not know how to work with others, relate to others in a positive and helpful way then we have not really learned much about life.

In all of this I have not mentioned the parent, the school administration, the required work outside the classroom, the internal issues students face such as peer pressure, etc. I have mainly looked at what the “teacher” presently can do in helping them become a better facilitator of learning, helping students to learn how to learn, and to know how to relate better with others. I have made a bunch of mistakes, but I guess those mistakes have helped me better see where to improve, not just instructionally but also in living by Christ’s life of grace and love with students, teachers, and those in the public school. I have still much to learn and each year it seems I have learned not only how to be a better facilitator of learning but more of Christ.

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