January 10, 2011

Teaching life skills?

A quick update in between classes and dinner and more classes.  We’re starting at 8am now, all the way through to 9pm each night with more lesson planning.  It’s exhausting and exciting at the same time.


Last week’s summer school went really well.  On the last day, the students presented their Bionic Games Bid to the class and gave each other feedback.  I was blown away by how well they worked under pressure to pull together such a polished presentation, especially for 14-15 year olds who started off super quiet and shy. 


I want to push my students to do as well as they can and sometimes we probably don’t give them enough credit for all the things they can achieve.


Today we taught them about the importance of setting goals, interview techniques they could practice, thinking about their future careers.  Afterwards, we had a 2 hour class about text styles and teaching students about different genres.  I thought the teacher brought up an interesting point about Pablo Freire, the “father” of critical pedagogy.  He wrote the book Pedagogy of the Oppressed. 


"Habits of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go beneath surface meaning, first impressions, dominant myths, official pronouncements, traditional clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context, ideology, and personal consequences of any action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse.

The teacher suggested one interpretation of teaching students how to write and interact with different genres could be that it was a political act giving them the power to communicate within a certain discourse of the community.  Wow that was an Art student sentence Smile with tongue out  I’d definitely agree with that view.  On the one hand, you can show them these life skills which they need in this society to be “successful”, but does it stifle creativity? 


Back to class!

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