VIGNETTE SERIES 6
Vignettes 20 – 22
There is a great deal of talk at the moment (2014) about “direct” teaching being a good way forward. This methodology is deemed to be especially appropriate for indigenous children. It is the model used at some schools on the Cape York Peninsula, and an approach espoused by advisor to our Prime Minister on educational matters Noel Pearson.
There is certainly a place and need for direct teaching because that is the way Primary engagement between teachers and students are best manifests.
With 32% of Northern Territory students being indigenous the proposition for use of this model certainly holds up.
From experience direct teaching works well. The model being spoken of as an emerging approach is certainly not new. Direct teaching methodology has been one practised by many teachers for a very long time. There may be different styles and emphases on the way it applies but direct teaching is direct teaching.
This approach certainly enhances the quality of engagement between teachers and students. It is about teachers “doing” things with students in an interactive context. When teachers direct or instruct children without actually engaging distance between teacher and students is created.
To involve and to do things with children in an instructional sense offers a superior approach to the teaching and learning task. It brings teachers and children closer together. When direct teaching takes place there is a strong in friends of teacher interest in what the children are doing and therefore in the quality of work outcomes. I believe this model adds meaning to teaching.
In Vignette 15, I touched on the need for teachers to “model” for their students. This extend is to include dress standards maintained by teachers in schools.
In my opinion it would be a good thing if the state and territory departments work to establish dress codes for teachers which were mandated. At one stage that used to be the case in some of the states.
With the passing of time departments have vested confidence in teachers that they will dress appropriately and according to standard setting. For most teachers follow a reasonable and sensible dress code, there are some who don’t enter in the correction.
Correcting teachers by advising on dress standards can be difficult and embarrassing. Where practicable it is advisable that female teachers should be spoken to about dress standards by a female member of the senior team. Likewise if mile teachers need advice that is best offered by a male member of the senior staff (if indeed there is a male in the senior leadership cohort).
I believe that the teacher dress does not need to be “over the top”. Neither should people dress scantily or inappropriately because this let’s the standard of our teaching profession down quite badly in the eyes of the public. Whether we like it or not, members of the community do talk about the way we dress and comment on our general behaviour and deportment.
Recently (2014) the New South Wales Department of Education introduced minimal standards of this for teachers which will be regulated in that state. This may have been because of a need for this issue to be addressed. Whether other departments will follow in a similar direction remains to be seen. It is to be hoped however, that teachers will dress in a way that shows their respect about profession so that regulation is not necessary.
I gained at the end of the day, teachers are modelling and setting standards for students. That is something we need to do in a respectful and empathetic manner. While it may be considered not proper to talk about these sorts of things the way we dress and our quality of deportment as teachers is certainly something that students and the public take into account when considering teachers and the profession.
Technology Can Create Separation
It is important that technology in classrooms and schools should be appreciated. It is important that teachers and students share teaching and learning opportunities,where these are enhances by the use of technology and equipment available. However, technological tools should never be allowed to stand in the place of the teacher.
Can be all too easy for teachers to recycle from direct interface with students, preferring instead to establish communications with learners through software packages available to support learning. Using attachments like blackboard, Skype, Scootle, and a myriad of other learning aids can help when it comes to refining and extending student learning. These devices must be under the control of teachers and structured in the way they are used to support student learning. It can be all too easy for teachers to hand pass their role in student learning development to the point of becoming detached.
The best most enriched learning comes from the contact developed and maintained between teachers and students. It is nice to “put a face on learning”! I believe students appreciate teachers who are there for them in a direct and first-hand context. To disengage, deferring classroom teaching practice to a robotic attachments with mechanical voices is anathema.
Perspective is important. Nothing can ever replace the first-hand relationships that develop and involve between sincere, committed teaching professionals and students primary, secondary and Treasury with whom they are engaging.