Saturday, September 18, 2004

What I said in session 1

Trying to reconstruct what I said yesterday evening. (Message sent to the English Workshop list.)

Hi, everyone!

Towards the end of session 1, I read part of the last paragraph on p. 15 of the readings, because I feel it gives a great overview of how I see teaching today.

"Today teachers utilize a variety of practices that are based on all of these ideas about learning... experience and reflection... reinforcemnet and practice... cognitive intent, effort, and reasoning... developmental stages... social interaction and the structuring of experiences... culture and other influences on experience... content... In large part because of differences in underlying views of the purposes of education, debates continue about "best" teaching practices. Effective teachers understand that different strategies are useful for different kinds of learning. It is most productive to think of these issues in terms of what kind of learning is sought in what contexts and then deliberate about what strategies may be most appropriate for those goals."

I didn't read the last two sentences to avoid boring you, but I think they are an important part of my view of things.

We all know from experience that there are no recipes in teaching. We need to observe the students all the time, see how they react and make timely adjustments to the plan, if necessary. We need to be flexible! We often also need to improvise: put a plan aside and deal instead with a problem that is upsetting that group of human beings we have in front of us, who have feelings that have to be respected and worries that should be dealt with (sooner rather than later). Those human beings - our students - also have different ways of learning and reacting to things, which have to be taken into consideration and catered to as best as possible.

That's why I feel I'm very lucky to be teaching at a time when I can and must "utilize a variety of practices" that are available and which, hopefully, will make my teaching more motivating and effective for my students. These practices also include using this fabulous online world with all the different communication and information tools, many of which we have all been using on a daily basis for some time now.

In my opinion, this abundant mixture of practices and strategies is part of what makes teaching so much more challenging today than it was almost 30 years ago when I started out (a time when structuralism was the "in" or "buzz" word!!!). In turn, those practices lead us to constant choices, which make teaching so much more demanding.

This is certainly a fascinating and motivating time to be a teacher and a student! Especially a student who has teachers such as us, who are enthusiasts of these new means and tools, learn how to use them (at their own will and in their own free time) and put them to the best use they know for their students!

I think this was more or less what I said (a little expanded here and there) yesterday evening (my time). Now it's your turn to carry on, if you so wish. :-)

Have a nice Sunday!



Blogger Bruce said...

I am confused. Are the English Workshop and the Learning Styles class including the public television videos two different events? I want to participate, but i am not sure where or how. Bruce Neubauer

September 19, 2004 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 19, 2004 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...


The Learning Classroom is the name of the course and The English Workshop is the Yahoo Group that Doris created for our group communication.

You should participate through the YG and you're subscribed to it. I don't think you need to do anything else.

HTH. Teresa

September 19, 2004 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...


The Learning Classroom is the course and The English Workshop is the Yahoo Group that Doris created for the participants in the course to communicate. Since you are subscribed to the YG, have communicated through it, and were with us last Friday at the beginning of Session 1, I don't believe you need to do anything else.


September 19, 2004 at 11:24 PM  

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