Thursday, 17 February 2011

PPLE post 2

A learning environment that worked for me: I was a kind of student who could have the lowest grade one term, and the highest the next, which was very puzzling for my teachers, my parents and myself. I always wanted to understand why it was the case, and why I always found on my report: “could do better”... when I felt I was trying my best.
At university, I realize that I was learning much better with face-to-face interactions, discussions, sitting on the first row. I find it very difficult to learn from reading papers or books by myself. I also needed to understand the overall picture before going into details.
It turns out that today, one of my sons is very much the same kind of student I use to be and observing him among his peers made me realize that the school system provides a learning environment which suits better certain type of kids than others. I started to read papers about different learning style and try to help him with his homework and during the holidays by trying alternative ways of learning. I found it very encouraging to realize how trying different approaches can make learning much easier for him.
I think it is a challenge for a teacher to recognize individual needs and find a way to feed these needs. I am hoping to learn a lot on this subject this year and keep reading in the future since I believe there is still a lot to understand in this field.

This leads me to the provocation 6: What will students want and need from me? One day, as I was discussing the subject of learning style with a primary teacher, she told me: “a good teacher is a teacher who carries his/her students in his/her heart”. That means caring for each of them as an individual and not as a group. Understanding different learning style and learning difficulties is essential to make sure no one in the classroom is left behind. Each student needs to be respected and understood as an individual.

What kind of a teacher do I want to be? Remembering my years at school, at university and going to conferences during my career as a scientist, one of the key for passing on knowledge was to find a way to catch the the audience's attention, making sure not to be boring and keeping the subject lively. The biggest challenge for a teacher is to motivate students, to light up their interest using modern, fun, various materials, and maintain their own enthusiasm.

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