Habits : a two edged sword in education

Let me first apologize for missing last week, there were simply too many things to take care of to even consider writing.

Habits.  I believe in the power of habits. Habits though have a way to become counter productive very fast, especially in an educational setting; for students and teacher alike.

Let’s look at some habits Korean education uses.  A lot of people refer to it as rote memorization, to memorize “ad verbatim.  I am not a big fan of this method since I am dyslexic and simply doesn’t work for me.  Therefore I cannot teach it.  Since it doesn’t work for me, there must be people that are extremely happy in using this method.

Let’s look at extensive reading.  A system that relies on letting students come into contact with as much language as possible in a relaxed environment.  One problem is I have met more than enough people who do not enjoy reading.  Extensive reading falls flat on it’s face if the participant is not willing.

There you have it.  This is my idea on education.  I have a serious distaste for homogeneous teaching methods. It is neglecting the individual in the system, even though we believe the system to be build for the individual.  It cannot be.  The real struggle of anyone who takes being a teacher seriously is the ability to identify which method(s) fit which student.  Teaching smart kids is easy.  Teaching motivated students is easy.  But it isn’t that straightforward.  Sometimes the  smart kids act stupid, so they can let of some steam.  Sometimes the motivated student wreaks havoc in your class because they are upset.  Sometimes you see a glimmer of hope in the dimmest of students.  Sometimes, the student with the negative attitude makes the class happen.  That is education.

I myself constantly use different techniques to let students develop their own experience of what they are good and bad at.  They will resist that.  They will resist it because they are not used to drilling different parts of their abilities.  Experimenting with another way of writing the same story.  A gamification of the rote memorization.  A strict adherence to rules when writing a creative story.

Ultimately, it is experience that matters to the student. Experience that allows them to know themselves better.  To come to a better understanding how they can be of value to themselves and others.

Like any job, we fall into a grind, it is no different with being a teacher.  But it is exactly the grind that reduces the effectiveness of teaching.  It should be about exploring, trying, challenging; not about doing it in a certain way all the time.

It is the individual that has to recognize they have fallen into a grind and need to change things around a bit.  Rip the texts apart, throw out the dictionary, not turn that computer on.  Teachers and students constantly need to be looking for a change of pace, and especially teachers should enforce this change of pace.

There is no one way to solve all problems.

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