31 Mar 2016

My way, your way, anything goes...but am I wrong?

I'm a keen follower on Twitter.  I used to love the feeling of camaraderie, and sharing resources, and sharing good ideas, and the fact that it became a one stop shop for ideas, support and advice.  Then came in a change of government, a change of ethos, and a change of direction in terms of education.  Along with that came the inevitable range of experts, offering us 'research' and 'evidence' that suggested what we were doing in the classroom was wrong and that there's this book we've got to read to make sure we are doing the right thing and teaching the right way, because any other way is wrong.

Now I'm not in denial when it comes to educational research, but I like to pick and choose what I read, and not have it forced down my Twitter feed by these 'experts'.  The thing a lot of these 'experts' have in common is a relative lack of actual teaching experience, a couple of years here and there, a book publishing, and then a day or so a week in a school to keep their hand in, or to give credence to what they write about. 

My real issue is this.  I teach French, and am now in my 20th year of doing so.  The methods I've used to attain grades have evolved and been reinvented, have been tinkered with and adapted over the years, though my own self-reflection and advice of those I work with.  I teach in a comprehensive school, where languages are compulsory, so deal with a number of pupils each year who have to learn a language but don't want to, and I'm judged by my results.  I use ICT and iPads, because the pupils enjoy it, and it adds relevance to what we study, I get them to design posters and leaflets, we do role plays, we are creative.  I also do learning by rote, memory tests, grammar drills because I feel it's necessary.  What is consistent is that I get good results, and have a decentish career of results to back up my methods.  Furthermore my methods are not too different from thousands of other teachers across the country who are sensible enough not to listen to those that pontificate in 140 characters, because quite frankly they don't have the time or the energy.  

In this new era of acadamisation, where schools are supposedly given new freedoms to deviate away from the national curriculum, teachers should be able to plan engaging lessons as they wish to.  Personalised learning? I like it.  "But the research says it's wrong." In my classroom, with my students, in my subject and in my circumstances it works.  

So let's get back to sharing ideas and good practice, let's cut down on the preaching, and if your methods work, then stick to your guns.

1 comment:

Dom said...

If it works for you, and your students, I say keep doing it :)