If you believes what I wrote below (WHAT IF I AM MISTAKEN?), it must affect how one teaches. One is caught between the role of school in a process of socialization; of transmitting social values and the role of educator in helping people to become themselves. I repeat the observation of Oliver Sacks about medicine:
“One must drop all presuppositions and dogmas and rules- for these only lead to stalemates or disaster; one must cease to regard all patients as replicas, and honour each one with individual attention, attention to how he is doing, to his individual reactions and propensities; and in this way with the patient as one’s equal, one’s co-explorer, not one’s puppet, one may find therapeutic ways which are better than other ways, tactics which can be modified as the occasion requires. Given a ‘policy-space’ no longer simple or convergent, an intuitive ‘feel’ is the only sage guide; and in this the patient may well surpass his physician.”
My problem has been, I believe, to view the question in the wrong way: in terms of teacher teaching – student learning, rather than as an environment of exchange and learning. As with language, rules established our capacity to structure and to communicate – they do not limit what we say or how we say it. Furthermore, the rules evolve and change as our understanding and relationship to the world changes.
Make the work accessible, make it interesting and be involved in learning it and doing it yourself – pose real questions and try to understand how the world and insist on clear expression of ideas and involvement.
I am in class – I am writing and my students are working and are quiet: some read, some draw and some research on the Internet. Two were watching films in order to understand their structure. The task? To create a storyboard of the scene of the death of Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet. The aim? To understand the language and structure of film and how to create a storyboard. Okay, I admit the subject in itself is attractive to this age group and it relates directly to what they want to do afterwards. It took more imagination to teach classical Art History to car designers who were not the slightest bit interested (“Why have I got to do Art History? – I’m going to be a car designer!”), but it was possible to involve them.
But I can only see the world from where I am standing – I don’t know how my theory would apply in front of an inner city, unmotivated class that won’t listen and who insult me – while a structure behind becomes more and more result orientated. I hope someone in that situation will read this and reply…
I may be mistaken.