Nowadays there are so many methods to facilitate the learning process. They are all worth considering and worth using in the classroom, at least to take the risk to try one to see if it works. However, what made me think was to what degree the socio-cultural context is taken into consideration.

We often get over-enthusiastic about a certain approach and apply it unconditionally, and love it so much, but is it really helping our students? What if the students do not want it? Sometimes, the educator is totally convinced that his/her approach is the best ever (in developing certain skills). Yet, being so in love with the approach he/she does not manage to understand the students’ resistance and lack of motivation. What to do then?

I was surprised today to discover that what was meant to be a collaboration turned into ‘you do your bit and don’t bother about the rest’. During a workshop (which caused quite a lot of confusion at first as I couldn’t understand what exactly it was about), students believed that I was one of them. So they didn’t bother to explain to me what the task was all about. I was, in fact, bothering them with questions, yet they weren’t able to explain anything to me.

On top of everything I think I was quite a nuisance to them as I insisted on knowing what the others were planning to say. However, all my attempts were in vain, and what killed me was ‘Don’t fret that much. We always do like this. Just read your part’.

I accepted the rules of their game. But I swear to God I experienced one of the most awkward moments ever. So I was standing in front having to say what I was supposed to say without even knowing what the others would say. So I discovered that together with the audience. To say that I was confused is to say nothing. (But I assume confusion is my state of being.) Yet, the thing that crossed my mind that very moment was a quote I once came across. It said that one can make a person unhappy, even if the latter doesn’t want to. But one can’t make a person happy if the latter doesn’t want to.

So education is also a matter of choice. Students want to embrace a change and see its benefits, or refuse to see anything positive and focus exclusively on drawbacks. And I think that this resistance is closely related to the socio-cultural context one lives in.

I don’t know. But how to help students see the obvious, the light, if they keep their eyes shut. Probably educators should follow Churchill’s advice: ‘Never, never, never give up’. Good luck to me and to everybody. There’s a looooong way ahead. Let’s enjoy the process. 🙂

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3 Responses to Interesting

  1. Elena says:

    It’s quite a challenge to keep all students interested and motivated. What works in most cases, regardless of the sociocultural context, is briefly pitching the activities as both useful and fun. If they know exactly why some specific skills are useful in real life, and they have a meaningful task to practice, they are more likely to learn and remember. The fun factor acts like a stress-relieving tool and makes the class feel less like work, it provides instant gratification, which, in turn, fuels their motivation.
    Breaking down a bigger task into learning centers (stations) within a class comes in handy when you want the participants to know what their specific role is, as well as provide the big picture, with a clearly stated purpose.
    #learningisfun 🙂

    • vickycondrat says:

      You are totally right. I can’t agree more. The point is that the activity I referred to is fun, yet, students (those whom I talked to at least) do not see it as fun. I’ve had great students and I still have wonderful students (I don’t complain). But there’s a kind of resistance towards what’s new, what’s unusual and, above all, towards something that requires to think not just to copy-paste. It’s more related to our culture to my mind. Maybe I’m wrong.

      • Elena says:

        Hmmm… Imho, if it is culture-related, it must be more typical for the north of the country, where people tend to be a bit more… conservative, and more into pattern-based activities (eg “In orașu-n care plouă de trei ori pe săptămână”).
        Too bad some kids don’t realize how much they’re missing out on – there are great things happening out of one’s comfort zone. I’m sure you’ll find a way to help them out.
        ps: I miss your classes. I always have 🙂

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