When I was 9, I remember seeing an interview on Much Music (back in the day when music videos still existed). The VJ was interviewing Slash from Guns and Roses, and when asked if he considered himself a rockstar Slash simply answered "Hell yeah". In a single instant, the musician was able to not only demonstrate a rebellious attitude, but also define coolness as I knew it. Effective teachers are able to emulate these same emotions in their students. Do we not all remember one teacher in our lives that was able to reach out to us in one way or another? Last week I attended a conference on techno-pedagogy and I kept asking myself, can technology really fix the paradigm of education? Unfortunately, before technology can become meaningful in the classroom, teachers must first reinvent themselves and their teaching methods in order to shift the emphasis from curriculum content to students' passions.
The problem in education is that we are looking for the BEST practices, when, as Mark Prensky puts it, we should be continually looking for better practices. Socratic irony needs to find its way into the lives of teachers in order for them to continually re-evaluate their teaching practices and goals. For this to happen, teachers must deny their claim to be the beholders of all knowledge and accept their imperfections. What better way to create an ideal learning environment than to continually question one's self. Once this is accomplished, the shift from content to process can happen, and then and only then can technology be introduced in a pedagogical manner. Students should know and be taught different processes such as the creative process, the writing process, the research process. Through these processes student and teachers can effectively question, evaluate, and create different contents in a variety of mediums. For learning to take place, teachers must become real models and believe in their students and their passions.
In one instant long ago, a musician was able to define a whole attitude for me in a few simple words. For others it may have been an athlete, an actor, or even a relative. Technology can get students closer to these individuals and moments, but if an educational shift from teacher to student doesn't take place I fear technology will be misapplied, and an opportunity to effectively revaluate our practices will have been lost. Essentially it starts in the classroom, where every teacher can become a rock star, an athlete, or an actor for their students; all they have to do is question themselves and their practice. In the end, is that why I became a teacher? Hell yeah –