Reflection on 21st Century Learning/Teaching – Week 2

by angeslang

From what we have learnt thus far about behaviorist theories and classical conditioning it makes sense that we diversify our teaching approach from what it has traditionally valued.  The fact that we don’t know what the world our students will live in will be like or what the world will value it seems arrogant to assume that the subjects we have always valued are the only way forward.

Not only this but to only train students in one way for one type of learner means that we could be turning off the potential of a vast majority. To my mind who are we to say we value this type of learner more than that type. We certainly don’t know what type of learner society will value more than another. So to condition people who struggle to think in the traditional way that they are not as praise worthy as others is a little ridiculous and largely unfair.
That is not to say that students shouldn’t experience disappointment or other potentially negative experiences that build resilience. Rather we should give those students the same chance to succeed. If their talents aren’t valued and reinforced  they will be conditioned to believe they have nothing of value to offer which isn’t true.
Because many adults experienced this at school and consequently became disenfranchised by the system, if school wasn’t ‘school’ anymore – engaging with the community better, not a classroom with desks on rows and teacher at the front, only valuing one type of learner – we may potentially get back their buy in. This may lead to an extinction of their negative feelings (their conditioned response) toward school in some communities and in turn help to break the cycle of school not being seen as an important activity/place. This would thereby increase the results the school could achieve not just because of its new pedagogy but also in part due to the more positive attitude of the greater community.