What’s not to understand about teachers facilitating or coaching as well as imparting knowledge? It’s not trendy or revolutionary in universities where lectures and tutorials both have a place. Nor is it an alien concept in Early Years education in which formal learning and investigative or enquiry based learning both feature. Coaching and facilitating of learning are also common professional development approaches in the business world.
This is a re-blog post originally posted by Graham Frost and published with kind permission.
The original post can be found here.
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So why all the perennial fuss and polarised arguments for and against different modes of teaching and learning? I have some theories about the conflicting motivations. On one side there are subject specialists who enjoy the status of expert, a view that accumulated knowledge should be digested by subsequent generations, and perhaps apprehension about anarchy arising from learners deciding for themselves which bodies of knowledge they consider important. On the opposing side there are generalists who prefer a more empirical approach to learning and an indignation at having what we should know or think determined for us. I also believe it is perpetuated by the opposing views on the need to measure and rank pupils. It is certainly wrapped up in the conflicting ideologies of political parties.
My own position on this subject is quite simple. Both modes of learning are equally valuable. That is why in my school for half the day lessons consist of more formal or “traditional” teaching of essential core subjects, while the other half affords opportunities to apply core skills, access a broad range of teacher-designed (or facilitated) learning activities, as well as some freedom to act upon intrinsic motivation. However, we don’t presume to have achieved “mastery” (the latest buzzword) or to have redefined the meaning of the word “outstanding”. What we are doing is engaging in a joint research project with University of Cumbria to evaluate our approach, and continue to mould and shape how we teach based on sound research evidence, rather than supposition or conjecture.
The most objectionable and dangerous polarised view is held by those who would make early years education almost entirely formal in nature. These must surely be either people who were themselves denied the joys of playful discovery in childhood or who see education as a kind of conveyor belt or assembly line. And to those who say that class size really doesn’t matter, I say that depends on the mode of teaching. Picture a lecture theatre full of 5 year olds.
To get a glimpse of teaching and learning in my school.
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