Posted by Realsociology on November 25, 2012
This isn’t a particularly informative post, more of a spontaneous expression of an epiphany moment (although one without the elation).
The epiphany comes in the form of a question – Is there any worse way of getting teenagers to concentrate than sitting them in a room with 19 other teenagers and one adult for four and a half hours a day?
I mean I know the typical day at school or college, for most kids at least, will be broken up with more active lessons such as sport and music, but the standard model is 20 teenagers in a room with one adult.
This just seems ridiculous – Assuming an hour and half lesson, it’s too large a number for the teacher to engage with one on one in any meaningful way, it’s too many for everyone to have a meaningful input into a ‘whole class discussion’, so teachers are left reverting to either individual work where not everyone gets monitored, or pair/ group work where some students inevitably lose focus, and if you are going to go against ‘fairyland Ofsted’s’ advice, and do the dreaded lecture – well 20 is an equally pointless number, you may as well film it and stream it to 20 000.
The days of 20 teenagers sitting in a classroom must surely come to and end soon? Surely it’s possible for schools and especially colleges to be a little more creative with teaching arrangements – A combination of online lectures and independent learning combined with more intense, tailored, smaller group sessions and occasional one on one meetings with students where they spend less time sitting in class, but where they get more focused attention and thus more focused working when they are in lessons …. Maybe>?
A related question is where did the educational norm of ’20 teenagers sitting in a room’m actually come from anyway, and how did it evolve? Answers in comments please.
So if my Beacon ‘best 6th form college’ in the country doesn’t actually innovate like it’s supposed to, perhaps I’ll forge this path at the institutional level, perhaps one day, a year or so before I quit in case it all goes pear shaped, I’ll break all the rules and just do this anyway.