Thursday, September 15, 2005

Why don't you ask them?

I guess it takes a perceptive young man to set the debate, currently raging over the PROPOSED VCE English Study Design, straight.

HERE is an idea that might shock both proponents and opponents of the new VCE English proposal. Instead of sitting around debating about what is best for students, why don't you ask them? They aren't stupid, after all, they are your sons and daughters. And ultimately, it is their future that you are playing with, not yours.
Daniel Golding (one year out of VCE), Kensington


At 10:41 pm, Blogger pretty in pink said...

I'm not convinced. It's a bit like asking my kids what they want for dinner. Their selections and criteria for what makes a 'good and healthy' dinner are vastly different from mine. So who knows better? We currently spend (waste?) time asking our students about their preferred learning methods. The main answers: videos and games. Surprise, surprise!

At 11:36 pm, Blogger Scott said...

Of course you are right, but so what? I think it's a relevant point. Students have to lump it at school and sit through us and our boring droning on about whatever it is that we think is so useful and important. Why shouldn't we at least ASK them what they think?

You haven't read James Gee's (2003) What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy?

At 4:22 pm, Blogger pretty in pink said...

Indeed I have - you made me! My words were "videos AND games". I'm talking about the use of video movies as babysitters when classroom teachers are absent/suicidal (perhaps both at the same time)-and yes, I'm touchy about it. Too many 'other' teachers at myu school treat the English faculty resources like their local video store. And if anyone out there has a fantastic game to teach essay writing, I'd love it.
Yes, it's the last day of term. And yes, I'm tired of the whole thing.

At 4:41 pm, Blogger Scott said...

In any case, you raise an important tension - and I do appreciate it. Asking young people about what they need in an english study is a little like asking someone (a teacher perhaps?) if they are underpaid and undervalued in that most of will us already know the answer. And we know the answer is problematic. Kids often want what we (as their parents or as their teachers) instinctly know is not going to help or benefit them, and may in fact harm them.

Despite this, I guess I'm still interested in wondering about this tension and finding a way to work with it, inspite of the difficulty. I also like to remember that education, teaching and learning are each based on mutual relationships (some coersive of course) and it is easy to forget the to-and-fro, back and forth, dialogic nature of powerful learning.

that's all, I'm saying (do I sound defensive?) But as usual I think we are really talking about the same thing, just from different points on the map.


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