Camera's on me

After reading the last post, I feel I should add a few pointers here and there.

On the one hand, I have to say that after a while, it seems a lot of us tend to lose focus of our main objectives. Using what is said below, teachers are often the first to fall it seems. Assuming they started off meaning well, it looks as if teachers often prefer to make classes based on their own analyses of themselves. So the class content will often end up being about things the teacher believes to be relevant or important to mention. The issue is that often times, students are ahead of the teacher and the teacher ends up pointing out the obvious. Another thing is that if a teacher ends up building his courses on his own foundation, he/she will have major issues understanding how it is possible that the students aren't aiming for the same goal.

Education is a precious tool in society, and it is a tool we often seem to have very little control over. It is a tool that isn't precise or very efficient sometimes. If somebody began with the mind set that he/she wants to educate people, that he/she wants to teach, then I find it difficult to understand how somebody who is teaching can't possibly build his/her foundation based on the students. Even more important is the objective point of view he/she would bring to a class room. The purpose of education is to bring the new generation up to date with our findings so they can set out and perfect what we've built already, if teachers give subjective courses, not to mention subjective material, then they are simply furthering their education and aren't teaching.

It is most important for a teacher to be close to his students, because they are the ones who are leading the course, not the teacher. Which would then entail that no question is a stupid question. Of course, the phrase is told all the time but is barely applied. How can an individual keep up being a teacher for a lifetime if it is impossible for them to understand the people that are sitting in front of them? After all, teaching is a hard job. You have to reajust yourself several times because you will be teaching to several generations.

Another issue that comes to mind is the duration of classes. I feel it unessassary to have classes go above an hour. Especially this semester, I have teachers who take attendances all the time (except for 1...and of course, his class is always full since he's an amazing teacher) and who somehow believe that they must fill all of the time they are given. At the end of certain classes, I wonder why it was even worth sitting down for the duration, I walk out with my mind emptier then when I walked in.


At 22/11/05 10:30 PM, Blogger Portelance said...

I completely agree with your last few points. Here is a typical scenario: Students start shuffling around in their books, notes, and bags often a good 10-15mins before the class is done. It always surprises me when the teacher understands the signal, looks at his/her watch, and then says "we still have 10mins guys". Meaning "fuck you, I'm in charge, I have more to say!" The thing is, though, what the students are demonstrating through their movements is that no, you don't have anything pertinant to add at this point, you're repeating yourself, or you're boring us and we'd prefer to move on to other things.

The other problem some teachers have when it comes to this is when they will "conclude" long before they actually intend to shut up. You know when they say stuff like "and finally" or "this will be my last point" and then they continue on for a good 15 minutes of summarizing and pointless rambling. It just amazes me that teachers don't understand the visual signals that they're being given.

I have one class this semester that is just amazing. It's 3hrs but I find it to feel shorter than many of my 1 1/2 hour courses. The reason for this is that it's incredibly varied. We often have a mix of group presentations, lectures, argumentation and class discussion, and always a notable guest speaker who presents things in a fresh and innovate manner along with a Q & A at the end. The professor also has a very open dialogue with the students and makes it clear that he wants our input and participation. If you do this in the right way, students are more than happy to voice their opinions and engage themselves more actively.

You're right, though, teachers often wrongfully assume that they have an obligation to fill up the full time when many times they will in fact be repeating, summarizing, or going off on irrelevant tangents. This is extremely frustrating. My best teachers are ones who, before the time is up, often consider the fact that we have had a lot of material to grasp so far in the course, so they give us a break and end the course. This way students can assimilate the material more effectively and also shows that the professor is conscious of our needs and abilities.

I am also amazed at how many teachers genuinely don't seem to enjoy what they do. Not in a verbal way, but just in the dealings with their students and their approach to class. I have heard from a specific professor this semester how the demographics of this course has changed over the past 10 years and how he has had to adapt the material and style of teaching to be more current and in-line with what students want. This is what a teacher is supposed to do. Standing in front of the room and giving the same dry lecture week after week, year after year, is NOT effective teaching. This is teaching for those who don't grasp what a teacher is supposed to be. We have textbooks for this, engage us and go deeper into the material so that we can ask our own questions in order to come to new conclusions.

At 24/11/05 1:55 AM, Blogger Chartier said...

You know something interesting, I look at my sociology teacher and realize that the notes he is using to base all his courses on are notes that are so old the paper turned yellow. I often feel most of the material he is teaching is obvious to us. This is when I realize that generations DO get smarter over time. I find him to be a great man, I must say, he has an amazing way of interacting with students and has modified his approach in doing so over the years, yet his course lectures are horrible.

He teaches and lectures as if this was grand news and it was impossible for anyone to have grasped these concepts before hand. This is a bit sad, because I feel this teacher has much more potential then this. He is close to retirement, VERY close, as a matter of fact I wonder if he actually COULD retire. Yet, I feel he hasn't reached his peek in teaching yet to fully call it quits. Maybe one day.


Post a Comment

<< Home