Dr. Scott McLeod posted an interesting question. He posted “are we doing what is best for our students or are we doing what is most convenient for us?”. I believe this is a very loaded question. The reason I say that is because it depends on who’s answering the question. Are we asking teachers? What would an administrator say? What about the students themselves?
Though I am not a teacher myself, I have had the opportunity to hear from teachers in my classes. Some have said that they are so restricted in their classrooms that they cannot do anything “outside the box”. They have to stick with the already designed lesson plan. Many (due to standardized testing ) don’t have time to even think about incorporating new materials. Personally, I don’t think that’s convenient or what is best for students.
On the administrative side, there are certain perimeters that have to be set in order for the institution to be compliant. Some administrators use their authority and allow teachers the flexibility to change some things as long as the students are getting what they need just as long as they meet those requirements. On the other hand, you have those who are either set in their ways or refuse to adapt because they “system” has worked for 100 years (maybe not that long lol). They have more of the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach. In their minds, they know what’s best for the students. The question that pops in my mind is has anyone really considered the student?
Students generally will state that they are not getting what’s best for them. I believe it’s because they are receiving so many different things outside the classroom that inside the classroom seems boring. I’m not saying that everyone should have shining new gadgets in their rooms. Every student, no matter the age, wants something they can relate with. That may not be convenient for the instructor but that’s really what is best for the student. Yes, there has to be standards but it doesn’t always have to be done the same way every time. For example, to teach simple addition, use building blocks instead of the textbook. That simple change brings in a new dynamic into the classroom.
I think it is possible for students to have the best as well as it being convenient for teachers. Again, it doesn’t have to be the latest but it can at least be relative to some of the things students interact with.