Tuesday, March 01, 2011

In the Game

Commute 2 hours a day, drink a lot of coffee and meet around hundred people per day.

I admitt, I'm not used to it, but I'm in the big working holic society. I don't do it for the money or for the fun, but to test myself. The environmentalist is on the last mission, the teaching experience. I teach upper elementary school (ages 11-16) in Math, Science, Social sciences, English and Swedish. The school call me in the early morning and tell me what to do in the day, as a substitute teacher when the ordinary is sick. I have approximatly one hour to prepare for a lession. And when there, I need all the attention from the students, and I call tell you, it's very tricky to do so.

In my school, the kids have their own computer, they got it from the school to write and find information. They use it for facebook, games, youtube and whatever comes into their minds. And they run around, one jumped out from the window, they play music loud and they test the limits in all directions.

The huge test started last week. The ultimate test to make unmotivated and not interested people to work for a purpose.

Teaching in this kind of a way is not about knowledge or deliver information, this is only inspiration and a challenge to find ways and methods to make as little time as possible for the students to do other things, not in purpose for school. This experience is about efficient learning in action. Practising all knowledge from environmental communication. Making the people to find their own will to do something. Asking the questions as they can answer. Because they already have a lot of knowledge, a lot of ideas how to make things work.

I learn from them. They still not learn too much from me. But what I do is to help them find their own motivation and potential. They have it.


I guide them throught out the hour of class;
  • I start every lession to tell them who I am and why I'm there. I tell them what to do the next 40 or 50 minutes and I tell them what time the class is over
  • I give them time to get into the subject. If, like in the swedish class, they have to make a review of a book, they tell in pairs what they remember about it, or from the religion class, talk in pairs what they did last time, or in english class, tell another student in english what they did over the weekend, or in natural science, what they know about acid conditions
  • a next step here should be to share a bit in class, where we are and again what to do next hour
  • time is limited and they have to work, what to do to engage them to want to work? answer questions, of a mix of reading and writing, and some help from the teacher..

In a class where I will be the teacher in the two different subjec, 8 times in two weeks, we made a little get-to-know-each-other exercise. We took away the tables and sat in a ring on the chairs. I asked them what they wanted to do. They told me they wanted to present themself to me, and when they said their name, they also told what they like to do and that with a movement of the activity. It was really fun, we got tennis players, animal lovers, one sailer and a WOW player. We laughed some and then we could start the lession, still in the ring, to talk about the New Testament and what they knew about Jesus. They talked, they smiled, we got the connection. We also splitted the ring and started to work as a "normal class" again. And they really worked.

I have no idea how to make this in a math class, with big boys who has to make the class misarable for the other or how to inspire more on how to make a movie review more than suggest some different angels to start from. But I think we certainly do something. And that is not by "ordinary lectures", which, I believe would be without any attention at all.


More about:
Communicate the future of mankind
The disadvantages of lectures
Learning by doing
More teamwork less competition

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