I feel as though I could write several blogs about the presentation given to us by Karl Fisch, he was so full of knowledge and new ways of thinking. If I have some extra time I certainly will! I think all educators could benefit from listening to him. I am going to pick a few points and offer my thoughts on them.
I am about to attempt to respond to a statement that I feel is so important and allows for a great deal of discussion in a variety of areas and with a variety of educators. I was asked to see if I could identify a practice or learning activity that I experienced in university that was potentially rooted in old ways. To turn that around I have also been asked to discuss that has reflected a more 21st century way of teaching.
The idea of old ways of teaching is something that has bothered me more and more as I have learned about being an educator. When I started university I didn’t know any better, not to say that I am anywhere near being an expert now but there were many instances that I look back on and can’t help but think negatively about. I remember sitting in an indigenous studies 100 class and to exaggerate the situation a little, I am sure you could see smoke coming from my paper I was writing so fast. The class had a great deal of information, of which I found very interesting but learned very little of it, in part due to the fashion in which it was delivered. My professor would stand at the front of the room and talk 100 mph (I know Iam exaggerating again), in combination with this being my first semester of university and a prof with a great deal of knowledge it is fair to say that I was far from successful! What comes to my mind is a quote that Karl Fisch shared in his presentation:
“We cannot solve problems by using the same thinking we used when we created the problem.” –Albert Einstein
I am sure there are many ways we can look at this one experience of mine but I would like to look at it from the viewpoint of an educator. I think so often we have had the conversation that teachers who have taught for many years and new teachers coming in to the professional are so prone to teach in ways that they were taught. If I were to go in to the classroom and teach the way that I was taught all throughout my life I would be considered an educator who teaches in ‘old ways’. It is a fact of life that we gravitate to what is comfortable. One way for us to improve this and move towards the 21st century way of teaching is to, do as we are doing in this class and work with other educators and continue to learn from those around us.
The main question that Karl Fisch posed was, what do kids need to be successful? I could go on about all the different aspects of what I feel would answer this question but my first response is to say that students need teachers who are willing to mold themselves and teach for the needs of the students, not the needs of the educator. As well as teachers who are willing to learn new ways of teaching. It is crucial for educators to realized that change or shift is necessary for the success of all students in the school.
As for instances in university where I feel the teaching methods were more rooted in the 21st century way of teaching, I do not honestly feel that I have had many of those opportunities. To be very honest, this ecmp 455 class that I am taking now is the first class that has allowed me to be an active member in the development of the planning and assessment portion of the class. That is not to say that all of my experiences have been rooted in old ways but to generalize my experiences, the majority would have been viewed as old ways of teaching.