Another dot in the blogosphere?

The legacy of strategies

Posted on: May 7, 2016

I get what the image quote is getting at. For the benefit of our learners, do what works for them.

But under what time frame? What works for now? What works for the long run?

What works now is generally primed for the past and the short term. I am talking about preparing students for tests and helping them get good grades.

Now this would be good if tests and grades guaranteed attributes like critical and creative thinking, but they do not. Quite the opposite.

If we focus on what helps our children over the long run; they must:

  • learn to fail and recover
  • realise that they cannot always get their way
  • value values
  • go beyond learning what school teaches them

Using a variety of strategies is certainly one way to meet this checklist. But what if the strategies have blindspots or are no longer relevant?

Consider a social media-immersed set of learners on one hand, and a social media-averse set of teachers and school administrators on the other. The first group is learning as they use the new tools, but they are not properly guided or advised because the second group is fearful, ignorant, or resistant. The second group is blind to the effective use and benefits of social media-enabled learning. It is fearful of new tools and methods, and if they use the tools at all, they are used to do the same old thing.

If you are a teacher, you might relate to these examples:

  • Your leaders create numerous WhatsApp groups for administrative notifications so you can be summoned at any time.
  • Your school’s “social” media presence only disseminates, i.e., social media is only for one-way communication.
  • You use new tools to do what can already be done (better) without them, e.g., quizzing with Twitter.

There is no point saying that you have many tools in your toolbox. Not all tools are relevant or useful. Some tools might be blunt or dangerous. They remain in your toolbox because you are reluctant to let them go.

There is no point saying that you have many tools in your toolbox if you only use old methods. You will use the new tools in old ways that are not relevant or even harmful.

There is a legacy to teaching. It should be the timeless attitudes, beliefs, and skills a teacher prepares his or her students for. The legacy should not be the old tools or strategies.

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