Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ardent student

I realise I haven't been posting much here in the past week, but I haven't been idle. My thoughts have predictably been focused on issues around my learning materials for my Master's degree course. Rather than bore you silly with stuff related to my course, and also with a view to encouraging my classmates to get bloggin' I've created a new blog for these reflections. I opted for edublogs, since most of my classmates are teachers and edublogs seem to offer a lot that would be helpful to people in the teaching profession. The blog's name (Ardent Student) is due the fact that I acknowledge that I am an utter learning geek - what the British call an "anorak". Already, Tuesday evenings have become something I look forward to, in spite of the fact that it adds pressure to my already full schedule, and I really get tense about the fact that I have so much interesting reading to do and so little time to do it in. I find myself reading recommended texts after midnight when a more sensible person would be pushing Zs.

By contrast, I was supervising my 13 year old son's homework a few days ago. The material that he was working on was fascinating. I found it very easy to get caught up in it. But what about my son? Was he ardent? Was he enthused? Not so's you'd notice. I commented to my husband later that teachers really seemed to make an effort these days to make homework interesting, unlike in our day. Then it hit me. My mother would probably have found my homework interesting. The work is interesting to adults because it has been devised by adults.

I don't want to get tangled up in the debate about homework: Good Thing or Bad Thing. I think the principle holds for schoolwork done in or out of school hours. I'm still not prepared to accept that children are ready to determine what they need to learn, but maybe they can help us identify how they could learn it... in ways that will appeal to the child in the equation, rather than the adult. As a student, I have a voice on the course committee. Computer game designers have testers who are children. Systems developers have a user acceptance testing process. Maybe those who devise the curriculum or the scheme of work should adopt the same approach. The child's perspective must surely add value to the process.

Hmm. This one needs further thought.

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