Wipe the slate clean.
Hide the answer book.
We don't want any cheating.
"We will burn the old grass and the new will grow."
The newbies must experience the same confusion as their forebears.
Is this initiation to a sect?
Yes this is...a new term...year zero.
The term begins...
What do your students see of the activities of others?
Do they get to build on the learning of others?
What traces do they leave for those who follow?
Graffiti on the desk?
Scribbles in the borrowed text book?
A broken chair?
Of course, we can never wipe the slate clean. not even Pol Pot managed that...
In the corridors of (informal?) learning students sketch schemes, caricatures, myths, share short-cuts through the maze.
They become (perhaps) thereby empowered by their peers.
I spoke to a student last week.
She feigned understanding or to avoid embarassment by busying herself statically on her chair.
She understood nothing.
She was Moldavian.
She spoke Roumanian and had only ever learnt French and Russian at school.
I felt ridiculous.
Dense and denser.
I remember the lectures at university.
Either I was dense or the lecture was...to the extent that it may as well have been in a foreign language.
There was no pause for breath, there was no time to take legible notes. The graffiti was no help.
We feigned participation by scribbling on a page of A4.
I gave up going to those lectures.
Nobody had ever stopped the teacher to suggest that his lectures were, to us mere mortals, gibberish.
What means did the teacher have of knowing, before the end of year, that nobody understood?
Nobody had ever stopped the teacher to ask a question; they wouldn't have known where to start.
Logic and logical
It reminds me of a story of my father who was asked to teach logic at theological college.
He knew nothing of logic so he borrowed the notes of the departed logic teacher.
He read the notes religiously, praying that nobody would stop him to ask a question....
He recounted his story with a gleam in his eye. He had an acute sense of ridicule...he found the story hilarious.
Learning and culture.
Teachers group together by affinity, they cross each other in corridors sometimes with only a nod. From time to time, they disappear to their clubs...er conferences. They go to meet those with whom they will discuss the progress of the research and advance learning.
Fortunately for their careers, a few years back...some guys introduced the printing press.
It empowered a new guild: The Academic.
New ideas might be spread and discussed right around the continent...even further afield.
These were modern times.
I sometimes have the impression that we don't give enough thought to literacy.
I sometimes have the impression that we don't give enough thought to FAQ's.
I sometimes have the impression that we don't give enough thought to Market Research.
I sometimes have the impression that we don't give enough thought to Smart Portable Devices.
I sometimes just want to laugh.
I remember my father. He makes me smile...still.
It is important to maintain a sense of humour. It is perhaps this the most important lesson to learn.
An Italian Class...
And now a few questions.
What traces of your students do you keep and cherish?
Do you maintain relationships that you work so hard to establish with your students? Why?
What students frequently asked questions do you keep? What do you do with them?
What student suggestions, student advice, student stories do you keep? What do you do with them?
What connections do you enable between generations of students and other interesting people?
What do you do to enable learners find interesting documents, ideas, people?
What people do you invite to help you enable your students to learn?
What do you do to enable progress from year to year?
How do you evaluate progress from year to year? With standardised tests?
What literacies are appropriate to develop today? Why?
What sort of learning environment do you thrive in?
a) A blank cell
b) In a place with a group of people with whom you feel you can identify
c) In a country in which they speak an alien language.
d) In a classroom in which one teacher speaks about things which don't interest you.