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Posts Tagged ‘think


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In this video Noam Chomsky explains the problems with assessment: The way they are misused, misaligned, and misappropriate.

It is no surprise then that a Secret Teacher wrote the following article in The Guardian about how tests seemed to be dumbing down her students.

The teacher bemoans:

My students are bright, engaged and well-behaved, but there is something missing: they cannot think.

The Secret Teacher goes on to blame a focus on exams and I agree with the teacher for the most part. But tests are not the only thing to blame for students who do not know how to think independently.

Teachers who spoon feed, stifle thought, or fail to stay relevant are just as culpable.

For instance, the teacher said:

Last week I caught another of my A-grade students using his phone in the lesson. As a starter exercise, I told them to think of as many advantages as they could of being on the UN security council. “What are you doing?” I asked. “I’m googling the list of advantages,” came his wary reply. I was flabbergasted. I tried to explain that there is no list of advantages, but that I wanted his own views.

I am confident that the Secret Teacher is also a Good Teacher. But she also sounds like a traditional one in that she is averse to searching for Googleable answers. Perhaps she did not know how to take advantage of a now natural behaviour to show her students how to think, act, and write critically after Googling.

Most people would eventually realize that the most important factor in a schooling or educational system is the quality of its teachers. Those that join the profession are self-selecting by choice and pre-selected by institutes of teacher education.

But only the exceptional step up to deal with the problems with assessment or learn how to skilfully promote critical and creative thinking in a conservative system. The rest need professional development and the mindset of lead learners to do this.

I reviewed the tweets that I had collected as “favourites” over the last few years and found this:

Damned if you do or damned if you don’t? Which are you guilty of?

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If you are honest (and funny) about Facebook lookback videos, what would you say?

Perhaps something like the video above. But not as funny.

Or a lot more tragic. Like the video below.


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It does not take much to create opportunities for some critical thinking.

It might help to bring in a context shared by all your learners. It might also help to use a funny video.

Not all will identify with the father’s loss of his son. Not all with appreciate the humour. But most, if not all, will react to the emotion.

If we want our learners to think, we must get them to feel first.

I have started facilitating the ICT course for another semester.

This semester is a little different. I have four classes instead of the usual three. Two of the classes start a week before the other two. Ah, the joys of the timetabling and the complexity of the administrative machine!

Many things contribute to my passion for the course. I was just reminded of something a former teacher trainee said to me after one consultation (I wrote it on a Post-It and stuck it on my white board). She said:

I have never thought so hard and so much in all my years of education!

The reason she said this was because I would almost never provide THE answer. I’d get my trainees to think and come up with answers themselves.

I recall being simultaneously alarmed and amused when I heard that. I was alarmed because I wondered what our education system was doing to the fertile minds of our youth. Drawing all the nutrients and laying it to waste?

I was amused, well, because of the way she said it. And the feedback was very honest and quite unique.

I also felt happy that I had helped awaken a sleeping giant. My only hope is that the giant is still walking in the school system. Ah, hope springs eternal!


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