Who decides what is taught? Who decides how and when it is going to be taught?
Are we ready, as teachers, to hand over some power? Or is it precisely power what makes us different from the students?
To me, teaching is all about sharing and negotiating with the students. How am I going to help them if I only teach what I think is relevant and not what they really need? How am I going to help them if I can only rely in one way of teaching?
After observing a lesson at a Secondary School in Buenos Aires City, I wrote a report focusing on power. I analysed what decisions were taken by the teacher (and/or by the students) and which were the general tendencies. Were students given opportunities to take some decisions? Or everything was set and established by the teacher?
I invite you now to go over my report. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did while writing it. I can assure you it will be a great opportunity for you to reflect on your own teaching. It really helped me realise how important it is for a teacher to be aware of the decisions we take (or let students take). As you will notice while reading the report, I tried to analyse both aspects of classroom power: who does and who should take the decisions (this was done, of course, following my own heart and my personal views).
2nd Report / Alejandra de antoni / Classroom Observation / Methods 2 2009
After writing my report, I came to the following conclusion:
I generally share some decision-making with my students. I don’t generally let them decide everything simply because there are some things that have to be done in a certain period of time (this is related to what I explained in points 5 and 6 above). Of course I know that there are certain aims that we should achieve in a certain period of time but, at the same time, I know that we can sometimes negotiate the way in which we are going to do so. I know that sometimes I put at risk some short-term goals (for instance, practising a certain language topic in a given activity) while letting them decide on the way they will carry out an activity or the topics they are going to talk about. It’s definitely more demanding and risky for us to hand over power but, in the end, it is a lot more rewarding because they will not only enjoy what they are doing but they will also remember it! The key is M & M: Motivating and Memorable!