Ok ladies and gentlemen, a while ago, I came across a fantastic video by Sir Ken Robinson, who is one of today’s top educators which discussed the idea that we need to change the current education paradigms within schooling. If you haven’t seen this video, it will be embedded into this post. My purpose of this post is to address some things that I have noticed within my university experience over the last few weeks and how I feel that there is a link between what I have noticed and what points Sir Ken Robinson brings up in this video. (And seriously, you need to watch the video, it is really good).
So as any uni student does, I make sure I attend as many classes as I can, make sure that I do all of the prior work beforehand and make sure that I stay up with each weeks topic. Recently though I have been seeing things from a new perspective, I am not sure why this is or how it happened, but it’s one of those life mysteries. I digress, I first noticed this about 5 days ago when I was sitting in my ESM210 tutorial. I sat there just looking around the classroom at the mannerisms of my peers and listening to what sort of things they were talking about. What I had discovered is that what I was witnessing is an evolved and more sophisticated version of both a primary and secondary classroom. The term ‘Pre-Service Teacher’ has been used a lot this semester and though it is correct that in the flesh, we all are pre-service teachers, do we think that though? Do we sit there in class and subconsciously believe that we are pre-service teachers or still just students? It is hard to judge since I can’t read minds, however from the small data that I gathered, I feel that there are a lot of us that still believe that we are just students and I will own up now and say that I am one of those many people. I again witnessed this in my next two tutorials for EES240 and EEE208, that there were similar vibes to what I witnessed the first time and I wasn’t the only one that noticed. Speaking to a few different people in each of the classes, when I bought up the question, or made a statement concerning this point they put their 2 cents in and told me what they thought. When I asked why they felt this, they would respond that they would lose interest in the work as time dragged on, which brings me to my next point.
As I indicate in the title, I have been feeling lately that the classes we are doing are becoming mind numbing and tedious, this is not to say that everyone feels this, because clearly it is incorrect to make assumptions for an overall group and again, I am only basing any of this on my personal views and a what I have been told from a few other individuals, but the consensus of these people is that they are leaving classes feeling mind dead, not actually knowing what just happened, what was said and why it is relevant. None of these people have any learning difficulties or hate the course they are enrolled in, it is just how these classes are operated that is killing them mentally. My feeling for this is because the structure of these units suit a theoretical learner more then a practical learner, which isn’t a bad thing, theory is a big part of teaching and without it we may as well walk into a classroom now and teach, but I feel that the balance between practicality and theoretical is to heavy on one side. I might sound a bit biased since I consider myself to be more of a practical learner, but we were introduced to a theoretical world in primary school, we were overloaded with theory at high school, now at university the overload we had in high school gets loaded on more. Not to say there is no practical learning, our teaching rounds are a perfect example where it is all about applying the theory to a practical setting, but I struggle to see any main practical aspects when we are in tutes. If the current trend in education is to try and make learning more engaging to the student, and we are being trained to follow a certain model that incorporates this, then why do the paradigms that are associated with uni not considered in a similar way? Is it because we are meant to be professional about university, we are meant to be adults and to have put the title of ‘student’ behind us? In a sense this is true, we shouldn’t be acting like we did in prep when we are at uni, but we are still entitled to be engaged in our work and there should be a place in our learning that does become more practical in order to compliment the theory that we are studying.
I want to just finally say that I am not having ago at this course or unit, I am not having ago at any lecturers or teachers and I am not saying that the course content is terrible, because the course content is actually quite interesting once you get into it as there are some really key aspects of teaching that we need to no. what I am concerned is how this information is being taught to us. Being the fact this is university, it should have a different feel and identity to that of high school and before that, primary school, but what I have witnessed over the last week is that it doesn’t have that feel. Class finishes and you see people get out of the room as quick as possible. You see people look half asleep. People walk out feeling mind numb, not sure why what they had just learnt was so tedious. People still having the same conversations that they began at the start of the class and spending the next 2 hours talking about it. The teacher losing control of the class as the attention of each student lessens as the class continues. Each classroom is a 2 way street, we owe it to ourselves and our peers to give the desired respect and attention to whoever is teaching us this vital information for our future careers, however said teacher also owes it to us to engage with the practical learners within their class as well as the theoretical learners, not just one or the other.
This is just a small observation I noticed during the week and what I have to say about it. Again please watch the attached video so you will have a better understanding on what started me to think like this.