My photos featured in Tasmanian film festival winner

 

There’s an education trend in my geographical region that seems reasonable enough on face value, condom but seems to have been implemented in a rather unwieldy, hasty manner, and has been trusted for effective delivery to primarily under-trained, inexperienced practitioners.

This trend is student-centered and project-based learning.

The idea is that the students should be heartily engaged in classroom activities, driving the learning forward themselves, with the learning system being primarily built around practical deliverables, rather than listening to a teacher provide theory then following that up with practical exercises.

As I said, this is great on paper. I firmly believe one learns more effectively if they are able to spend significant time on practical tasks. I also believe that students should be taught responsibility and leadership through taking part in how a lesson is managed. However, from what I can see this methodology seems to be understood as “give the students what they want”. I have a real problem with this. Students know what they want, but they don’t know what they need! I think I have a far better understanding of that than they do. It’s my job to set them up for the rest of their lives, but I don’t see that happening if students are going to take control of what they learn in class, and how. By take control, I mean pressure their school to change a curriculum to keep them happy.

It’s at this point in my typical blog post that I’d want to make comment on personality types, cultural differences and economic factors that shape the typical classroom a foreign ESL teacher will see here. However, some locals who read my blog don’t seem to enjoy reading such things, misinterpreting them as criticisms rather than observations that should create catalyst for change. Criticism of the way things are done here is not welcomed.

So, instead I want to post a link to a thought-provoking blog post by another ESL teacher, one that inspired me to think about what I believe is happening here vs what I think should be happening.

ATEACHERSWONDERINGS’S POSTEROUS – Hidden

There are two great points in this post to which I relate heavily. I shall quote them here:

If we exclusively focus on student interests…don’t we build a kind of consumerism gravitating around the self? Doesn’t that limit children’s understanding of the world?

If it’s one thing kids don’t need here, it’s further limitations on their global understanding. They already live in quite a sturdy bubble.

Isn’t our responsibility as teachers to nurture but also to encourage the child to go beyond the comfort zone?

From my experience, it would seem the comfort zone is where students want to remain, and believe they have every right to. Being pushed outside of it usually results in a kind of unhappiness, petulance and dislike toward the cause of discomfort. “It’s too hard”; “This is boring”; “I don’t like doing this”; “I want to do something else”;  “I’m finished!” (said 3 minutes into a 20 minute task); “I don’t want to do it. This takes too long.” (said after being told their work is unfinished, poorly executed, full of mistakes or needing time & care to be done well); “Why can’t we play games instead?”.

Sometimes these calls for attention signify a genuine need for methodology change, but more often than not it’s a signal that the student believes learning should be easy and that intellectual comfort is paramount. My thoughts on this: “Short-term gain, long-term pain. Short-term pain, long-term gain”.

I can see it’s impossible for me to drastically change the world I live in right now, but I do feel a tiny bit of satisfaction when I read the thoughts of others who are on a similar page, but with perhaps more conviction and empowerment than I have to create that necessary change.
 

There’s an education trend in my geographical region that seems reasonable enough on face value, bronchitis but seems to have been implemented in a rather unwieldy, clinic hasty manner, and has been trusted for effective delivery to primarily under-trained, inexperienced practitioners.

This trend is student-centered and project-based learning.

The idea is that the students should be heartily engaged in classroom activities, driving the learning forward themselves, with the learning system being primarily built around practical deliverables, rather than listening to a teacher provide theory then following that up with practical exercises.

As I said, this is great on paper. I firmly believe one learns more effectively if they are able to spend significant time on practical tasks. I also believe that students should be taught responsibility and leadership through taking part in how a lesson is managed. However, from what I can see this methodology seems to be understood as “give the students what they want”. I have a real problem with this. Students know what they want, but they don’t know what they need! I think I have a far better understanding of that than they do. It’s my job to set them up for the rest of their lives, but I don’t see that happening if students are going to take control of what they learn in class, and how. By take control, I mean pressure their school to change a curriculum to keep them happy.

It’s at this point in my typical blog post that I’d want to make comment on personality types, cultural differences and economic factors that shape the typical classroom a foreign ESL teacher will see here. However, some locals who read my blog don’t seem to enjoy reading such things, misinterpreting them as criticisms rather than observations that should create catalyst for change. Criticism of the way things are done here is not welcomed.

So, instead I want to post a link to a thought-provoking blog post by another ESL teacher, one that inspired me to think about what I believe is happening here vs what I think should be happening.

ATEACHERSWONDERINGS’S POSTEROUS – Hidden

There are two great points in this post to which I relate heavily. I shall quote them here:

If we exclusively focus on student interests…don’t we build a kind of consumerism gravitating around the self? Doesn’t that limit children’s understanding of the world?

If it’s one thing kids don’t need here, it’s further limitations on their global understanding. They already live in quite a sturdy bubble.

Isn’t our responsibility as teachers to nurture but also to encourage the child to go beyond the comfort zone?

From my experience, it would seem the comfort zone is where students want to remain, and believe they have every right to. Being pushed outside of it usually results in a kind of unhappiness, petulance and dislike toward the cause of discomfort. “It’s too hard”; “This is boring”; “I don’t like doing this”; “I want to do something else”;  “I’m finished!” (said 3 minutes into a 20 minute task); “I don’t want to do it. This takes too long.” (said after being told their work is unfinished, poorly executed, full of mistakes or needing time & care to be done well); “Why can’t we play games instead?”.

Sometimes these calls for attention signify a genuine need for methodology change, but more often than not it’s a signal that the student believes learning should be easy and that intellectual comfort is paramount. My thoughts on this: “Short-term gain, long-term pain. Short-term pain, long-term gain”.

I can see it’s impossible for me to drastically change the world I live in right now, but I do feel a tiny bit of satisfaction when I read the thoughts of others who are on a similar page, but with perhaps more conviction and empowerment than I have to create that necessary change.
viagra on Flickr” href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/hrdrck/3214345846/”>Tasmania Jan 08

A few years ago I circumnavigated the Tasmanian coast for a week, dysentery and took some lovely photos of one of Australia’s most beautiful places to visit. In many ways, thumb Tasmania offers the best value for tourists in that it contains so much geographical and historical diversity in such a small area.

Tasmania Jan 08

Recently an Australian film-maker, David Pye-Finch stumbled across my photos in his search for images to be used in his upcoming short-film project entitled, “Best Kept Secret”. His intention was to use them as framed office photos and images viewed on a tourist’s iPhone. Of course, I was more than happy to allow such use, as I love the idea of sharing information about and promoting beautiful places to which I’ve traveled.

Tasmania Jan 08

The film itself was being made as an entry into the BOFA “Essence of Tasmania” competition. Once I saw his final product it was pretty clear to me it would be a front-runner for 1st place.

Well, the great news is that David’s film did win. Having already been wowed by the film this was no surprise to me – he did a wonderful job and I’m very pleased his hard work was rewarded. The film itself is clever, simple, funny, very Australian, and to top it all off, stars an iconic comedic actor, Michael Veitch.

As for my contributions, small as they are, I’m still very proud that David chose them for his creation. Thank you!

My entire Tasmanian trip can be viewed on Flickr in sets sorted by region and day. Tasmania 2008

Tasmania Jan 08

Tasmania Jan 08

Tasmania Jan 08

The Film

Finally, here is David’s short film, Best Kept Secret.