Friday, February 22, 2013

Valuing Responses

The IP class is one that values participation. It can come in the form of class discussion with their friends or sharing their opinions with their teachers. The bottomline of this exercise is that articulating one's opinion helps us crystalise that knowledge; that we don't know what we know until we own it; we don't own what we own, until we say it. The process of saying gives transitivity and structure our ideas.

What if you have an idea and no chance to say it. What if you have an idea and the chance to say it, but not much time to elaborate on it? What if you have an idea, the chance to say it, some time to elaborate on it, but in the end it does not matter to the final outcome of things because the teacher already has his answer to the question? This is a grand crisis of co-optation!

In the IP classes I have sat in this week, I saw open ended questions asked. I saw students eager to respond, I saw many good answers with many good ideas. Most importantly, I saw teachers who gave time to student answers and allowed the responses to guide the flow of the discussion. They probably have a preferred outcome to the discussion and allowed the responses from the students to add to the riches of the outcome.

I can imagine my approach. I would ask a question, I will get a smattering of responses, I will hear some out and thank them, I will probably pass some off because I have no time, and I need to move on. I am unable to stop what I am doing to listen to them. What I have to say is more important than what they have to say. I do not want to break my train of thoughts. Their thoughts are not as important. So who is doing the learning? They are certainly doing lots of hearing and some listening and hopefully a bit of learning. but is this what I intended? That I should do all the talking, have all the answers, tell them what I want them to know, and think that if I have said it, they have learned it! Fallacy indeed.

They could have learned much more had they been given the chance to frame it, shape it and create it. I have instead seize the learning from them in the name of wanting them to learning. Here is the classic syndrome of TELLING-TEACHING.