Inquiring into Teaching & Learning
This section is concerned with the interaction between teachers and students in the classroom, and takes the form of propositions, followed by questions. It is not a quiz or competition that will lead to a score at the end. The propositions are not commandments, but statements for you to consider. The questions are meant to help you by leading you to honest self-examination and professional debate. More often than not, they will raise other questions and problems. Generally, it will be more useful to work with at least one other person, so that you can exchange and test opinions and ideas.
The assumption is that you have an interest in exploring and improving what is going on in the classroom. If that is so, you will already know that there are few simple answers that are good for all time, and that a conclusion with which you felt confident one year may seem less persuasive the next.
Proposition 1: All teachers should have convictions about the value of what they are teaching.
- What are the features of your work that make it worthwhile for all students?
- Do you manage to give adequate attention to all the features you have listed that make your work important?
- If you feel that you neglect any of them, what are the main causes?
- If you deal with any of them particularly well, how do you account for this?
- Are there things that students learn with you which they will not learn in the same way at a different point in their school life or in another activity or subject?
Proposition 2: All students can learn.
- Do you think that all your students can benefit from all the features you have listed for your subject or activity?
- If you think 'no,' who and what are the exceptions?
- If you think 'yes,' and a student has a problem with, say, reading or writing at a basic level, how do you prevent this from blocking access for him or her to key aspects of your work? (For example, "the enjoyment of literature" or "the excitement of scientific inquiry," if you have included such items.)
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