John Connell has posed some fundamental questions about teaching in the 21st century which I have decided to tackle here.
I am finding it hard to write short posts, being used to producing long papers. I am reluctant to put these thoughts up because they are not honed and polished. I know as soon as I press ‘publish’ I’ll think of something else to add.
But that is the nature of blogging and I’ve set myself the task of maintaining this online learning log. So here goes. (And anyway only my mum and one other reads this!)

How do we re-empower the teacher for the 21st century?
The major role of a teacher is not to impart the wisdom of the past but to prepare the student for the future. We must nurture children’s strengths and challenge them to persist when they face problems. We need to be aware of, and work to stretch, children’s Zone of Proximal Development: the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by individual problem solving and the level of potential determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.

We have to reflect upon the unique connections a child makes in order to create meaning for himself; to be aware of how his brain is ‘sculptured’ whenever he experiences something new.

The brain is comparable to a muscle that can be developed throughout your life. It is a ‘trembling web’ of ever-changing inter-connections, shaped by experiences … Education molds your brain, stimulating new connections between cells
. (Ian Robertson)

Our task is to understand the dynamic nature of learning so that we can mediate experiences for young people within a framework of individualized opportunities and thereby optimise the development of patterns and connections in learners’ minds.

The second of John’s issues is: 2. What are the implications for subject-discipline and for deep knowledge in the teaching/learning process?
I’ll write on that tomorrow.

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