Teaching - Make it Relevant!
Author: Brad Howard Date Posted:12 April 2017
Travelling in car with my 12 year old son last night we started talking about school and teachers as this is consuming his life at the moment. He has just started middle school at a school 6 times the size of the primary school he left so he is a sponge soaking everything in from his new surroundings. He had a fantastic year in Year 6 at his previous school where the teacher was very practical, very technology savvy and built a wonderful rapport with the kids. My son went from being an average student to a high performer who built great confidence in himself and abilities and in particular excelled in mathematics. His Year 6 teacher brought relevance to the students in all lessons so the student could connect to the learning and were keen to explore beyond with technology (in particular Ipads) as a wonderful tool.
Come this year in Year 7 he has found his enthusiasm for maths really waning. He explained that in nearly every Maths lesson this year the teacher has stood at the front of the class, written mathematical problems on the whiteboard, had the students copy them to paper and then he works through each problem on the whiteboard while the kids take notes and there is the occasional discussion. Yes, I know kids can exaggerate however my son is losing interest in Maths fast and this worries me. I know there are times when a stand deliver approach is needed in Maths, however in this day and age where we have the huge majority of kids as visual learners, use technology constantly, are motivated by video, demonstration, exploratory learning, etc I feel this teacher is seriously letting these kids down.
We have such wonderful resources available on the internet, digital tools such as robots and programming tools, 3 D printers and many more that can teach most areas of Maths and Science in a wonderful, hands on and Interactive way that motivates students to learn, explore, problem solve and take risks. These resources can be accessed better in Australia than anywhere else in the world and are at our fingertips. The crucial ingredients to making the cake are imagination and relevance from the teacher. Teachers must use a learning style that taps into the minds of the students rather than thinking the students having to learn the mind of the teacher and their style.
Just like Football coaches who do not tap into the minds of the young generation of footballers in their care are being made redundant, so too may this flow to teaching. Schools are competing to deliver great education and this can only be achieved by great teachers who are measured by the performance of their students. The Western Bulldogs won the AFL grand final in 2016 because a coach tapped into the minds of a young generation of footballers to be highly motivated and learn quickly. Lest learn from this and be the best educators possible.