I would like to share with you some quotations from Kathy Fagan’s blog post that Ellen recommended us on her blog. It is so worthwhile entering Kathy’s blog. Below I will just quote her and then comment to it. This is about mutual respect in a classroom that is managed by students and teacher together, in a space of mutual learning from each other.
“I see many lesson plans (online and my own) that include “student-centered” activities such as having them work in small groups or pairs, surveying them to find out their needs, asking them to personalize their answers, etc. To my mind, those are still largely teacher-centered. Sure, I’m paying attention to the learners and collecting information about their needs … but I made the plan, I decide when they move into groups, I decide what information to collect, I take the survey home and decide how to use the information in a future lesson plan. Don’t I still hold most of the real power?” (see: http://freerangekef.blogspot.mx/2012/12/should-we-be-student-centered.html#comment-form)
“He (now Kathy refers to Parker J. Palmer) also shares this quote from Robert Frost:
We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
The paradigm-shift that gave birth to the phrase “student-centered learning” is revolutionary. But I wonder if it isn’t time to step even further along that path. I’d like to see the line between student, teacher, and the others at a learning institution eliminated completely and replaced with equal respect for our experience, skills, responsibilities, needs and aims. We are all there to support the same thing: learning. Who is the learner? Who is the teacher? ”
I really appreciate Kathy sharing her ideas and her reference authors. It’s impressingly beautiful and convincing the way they talk about the paradigm-shift and sounds nearly poetic when Robert Frost refers to us, students and teachers as people dancing round in a ring and supposing but the secret sitting in the middle knowing. In recent classes I have been reflecting about what we are looking at in our tkt preparation course with Ellen and there has always been this question in my mind about what exactly student-centered meant and about the way teachers are still designing, organizing, guiding the class. Now that I read about Kathy and her inspirations I think it is indeed a meaningful question to ask for: WHAT DOES STUDENT-CENTRED MEAN? And quoting Parker J. Palmer and his understanding of equal respect for our experience, skills, responsibilities, needs (students’ and teachers’ ones!!) and aims really enchants me. That is just so right and I can just nod hoping to be able to realize some of these ideas in the next semester. I deeply recommend you to read Kathy Fagans post and the posts below (so far I have just read some of them, that were very reflective and inspiring).