I have been finding if there is any “magic” way about teaching. I believe that we need a model about effective teaching. There are lots of research and findings about teaching and learning. When I ask about what seems to be a “better” way to teach, since I have a 6 years old kid struggling to perform better at school (although he is not bad at all in my point of view), it seems to me that different people will have a different view about it.
I looked through motivation, learning style, thinking style, cognitive style, intellectual style, model of learning, constructionism, Associationism, Piaget’s Drive for Equilibrium of Intellectual Development, Lev Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Development, Constructivism, Humanistic model, Maslow’s triangle of needs, etc. It seems to me that they are all truth in different dimensions. However, when everything is an answer, there is no answer.
Shall we keep on pitching to an 6 years old kid to “understand” the important of studying (cognitive approach) even though he may not understand the difficult causal relationship of it? Shall we punish and award the kid in order to control the behavior of him to fall into “just do it” mode, although he may hate-to-do-it? Shall we allow him to find his own motivation about all the memorizing, dictations which is hopeless for him to find any interests out of it? What happen if the 6 years old kid find his “TV games” giving him more motivation than any school and learning work, shall we still stick to the Self-motivating mode to wait for the “wakening” of him? If we do a free-style and allow the kid to find his own strength and develop in his own pace, will his early poor performance (in school/ social standard) affects his own self-perception about himself?
I believe these are not only the questions of mine but they are also the questions to all the parents and educators who are serious about teaching, coaching, sharing and facilitating people. I don’t have the answer here. But I have found a very inspiring message from Loughran and Northfield (1996, p.137)
A personal view of teaching and learning:
where possible, students should have opportunities to be active and think about their learning experiences.
students should experience success in learning and gain the confidence and skills to become better learners.
linking experiences from both within and outside school greatly assists learning.
effort and involvement are important outcomes of school activities and students need to gain credit and encouragement for their efforts.
enjoyment and satisfaction with learning are important outcomes.
learning involving the above features requires learner consent.
We have all “kind” of students in a class, how can a teacher take care of the syllabus and at the same time provide the tailor-made pedagogy for each individual to move on (catch up or be able to associate it further) according to the predefined contents ( or standard) set by the society.
I believe that all teachers should have a second objective list of in every teaching activity on top of the normal content objective. The core elements of the second objective list are the value and self-image establishment (past), learning skill building(now), and self-believe facilitation(future) to whatever learning programs, pedagogy, theories, contents, and tools that we use to help a person learning. Without those elements (second objectives) in our teaching, we are not contributing the future and continuous success of a person.
We may be teaching knowledge (feeding children with fishes we caught) but we are not transferring the skill of learning (telling children how to fish and find their own reason of fishing).
p.s. I believe “the skill of learning” is the metacognition knowledge of a teacher about teaching. The teachers need to acquire such understanding first. Then they need to find the right way (pedagogy) to teach them to students before the skill transfer is possible.