Living in the dark ages

Not that I doubt the truth of what she says, but I couldn’t believe so many people could be opposed to the brilliant work bhewes (@BiancaH80) is doing with PBL in her classroom.

I knew it wasn’t an approach which other staff members were eagerly taking up at her school, but I just honestly couldn’t see any valid reasons for not implementing more student centred styles of learning in the classroom. Except for the fact that it might involve more work for those teachers who are used to just standing out the front dictating notes to their class.

And then I experienced some of those negative vibes firsthand.

Someone associated with the university I am completing my preservice training at is coming to supervise a lesson of mine next week. In her instructions to me, she advised me that I needed to make sure I was “actually teaching”. When I enquired as to what she meant by this, she said, that she wanted to see me teaching them something, not just “setting them a task and walking around helping them”.

I then explained to her that my master teachers classes were run according to PBL. The supervisor dropped the second bombshell, “what’s PBL?” When told it was a more student centred approach to knowledge, involving students in inquiry and giving them freedom to determine the direction of their own learning, she made a noise which sounded like a stifled groan.

Again, she reinforced that I was to be doing actual teaching the day she came (as opposed to what I usually do, which is clearly NOT actual teaching).

I saw red when I got off the phone. How DARE the university relentlessly shovel the phrase “student centred” down our throats, and then completely chicken out when it comes time to endorse it in practice?

As someone who is yet to even start a career in teaching, I am already astounded by the politics which plague the profession. The way any form of change is resisted is ludicrous, especially when this change is so obviously beneficial for student development of all the skills we apparently value so highly.

I can only imagine the enormity of the battle ahead, and completely admire those pioneers who have gone, or as in the case of many of you, continue to go, before me in the challenge of chalk and talk.