Tag Archives: Pedagogy

Maybe swearing will help?

I enjoy reading educational blogs and engaging in conversation about how to best improve outcomes for young people. It is most definitely true that if we were to share everything that we knew or had tried in education, we would be much richer for it. Recently I found myself in a conversation with an educationalist who had views at the other end of the spectrum of where mine are. I mean, scarily so. I’m not saying that mine are right but there was part of me silently screaming ” whit planet are you ACTUALLY on?” Some people involved in education love a label about what kind of teacher they are, or what camp they feel most at home in and it’s very much black and white.
I think I have always thought that given the fact that no one is getting out of here alive, we need to teach in a way that we enjoy and will give the young people the best possible experience.
However, I was reminded that it wasn’t about enjoyment. Not for the teacher, and certainly not for the weans.
Usually most people from the same subject discipline will have similar pedagogical views, particularly in secondary. Not the same delivery style but at least a pattern of thinking to get to the same destination. On this occasion I found myself aghast, no, pure aghast actually, that a teacher with 3 years experience could be so confident that the way they taught was the only
way and they had nothing left to learn. That every child in their class(not their care) was thriving ( really? Petrified with sweaty shirts through fear at the age of 14 is thriving?)There was nothing left to learn indeed.
I think I have learned that I can now listen to people who are so consumed by their opinion and not actually do the gbh that I may wish for them. I don’t feel the need to react to everything and can now pass comment or give my opinion without bursting a blood vessel.
However, I never take for granted my own learning process and how that impacts on the students ( young and not so young) that I am privileged to work with.
But sometimes you do just want to hit someone with a chair.


Just because it’s old…….


As I have alluded to before, I play the organ.Not a keyboard, not a synth, a proper big multi manual, pedal,hunners of pipes type of organ. Quite useful for weddings.
I love it and was reminded the other day that I would never be out of a job or need to retire.
I have been playing the same model for about 26 years and I am quite attached to it. I have taken care of it as it has been refurbished, reconnected, had new pipes,new keys the lot. It’s been moved, leaked on,had people climb on it but it still sounds beautiful. After many years,I have refined how I play and worked out how to get the most beautiful sound out of it. Other people may be able to get the same sound, but it doesn’t sound similar to how I play. I was hugely chuffed when I was I Spain playing and someone commented that they knew it was me as they could tell by the sound. I like to think it was my technical prowess, (twiddly bits as someone once remarked) alas, it was just a signature tone.
Last week, I was told that someone had refused to play the organ as they felt it was too old and preferred to play the electric piano.
Going to be honest, I was offended. Here is the most lovely organ that literally sings when you get to know it, no synth needed.
Just because something is old, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, or can’t work.
It reminded me of one of my favourite educational bloggers whom I really enjoy reading and thinking about the points she makes. She recently wrote about how she had changed her mind about particular pedagogy, she took absolute pelters on-line about it.
Looking at what people had previously dismissed as “old hat” or not ” progressive” she had decided that using such methodology was actually no bad thing.
I don’t understand people who are desperate to disparage teaching and learning techniques that are older than 3 days? ( tongue firmly in cheek)
In my relatively short teaching career I have seen significant changes in curriculum, exams and thoughts about learning and trendy pedagogy. One thing that has not changed is the need to make sure weans are nurtured, educated and given the confidence to succeed. It would appear that every so often common sense does a bunk. I’ve seen more debate about approaches to teaching that have caused uproar than I care to remember. I enjoy the debate and am always keen to learn, to try something new but definitely not ready to chuck out the roots of what makes my teaching work for me and more importantly my learners.
Many a good tune is played on an old fiddle as my mammy says.
I can’t help but think if the musician who dismissed the lovely 1963 organ had actually taken the time to look, listen and try something that didn’t need flashing lights or whistles, they might have discovered there was a beautiful tune waiting to be played.
Just saying.