Add to Technorati Favorites

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Teachers don't know everything!

Photo: Angry girl dreamstime_8357956 from Dreamstime.comOn more than one occasion when talking to a child in school I have been somewhat rebuffed by the statement, "You don't know everything!" That was always particularly hurtful as I never pretended to know everything and certainly my teaching strategy was always so ask questions and encourage my students to explore possible outcomes for themselves.

In a recent discussion with Glen Finger about the forthcoming book, 'Developing a Networked School Community' and the problems of training teachers for the digital age, Glen wrote:

"A contribution which the book makes, and there is growing anticipation for this, relates to guidance on teacher readiness (including the confidence and capabilities for being aware of the suite of technologies (technological knowledge TK) for enabling a networked school community.

"In particular, the various conceptualisations which Mal Lee visualised throughout the book might be useful for parents, teachers, students to conceptualise beyond 'a place called school' to take into account access to a richer range of technologies, as well as recognise the value to parents as the first and continuing educators of their children."

Glen goes on to remind me of a quote from Dr Helen Barrett, some four years ago:

"There isn't a lot of knowledge about the pedagogical content of using portfolios for learning; the administrators and data managers are implementing electronic portfolios (that are really used as assessment management systems) with full knowledge of data and statistics but without full knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings and value of using portfolios to support student and teacher learning."

The above should disturb any reader, particularly as nothing much seems to have progressed over the last decade. Many teachers see the e-Portfolio as nothing more than an electronic CV. Few teachers use blogs for educational purposes, collaboration is still seen as nothing more than "Turn your chairs around to sit in groups and talk together about the problem." Few teachers use polling or voting software in their classrooms, very few schools permit the use of pupils' personal electronic devices and even fewer teachers know how to apply these technologies in the classroom. So if new ICTs are not being fully used in the classroom, what chance is there that teachers will encourage a Web2.0 mentality for real learning at home?

I really feel that until ITT and in-school CPD can address these issues we will not move on very far.

My response to my original title is therefore, "Yes, we don't know everything, but we should know what we need to know and also know what we don't know!"

No comments: