Home > Uncategorized > Reorganizing the Blog Pt 2

Reorganizing the Blog Pt 2

Originally Written September 19th 2009

As I sat yesterday in my ECE 205 class, I glanced periodically from my laptop screen (which, of course, was being used for some fantastic note taking) to see what was being shown on the big screen. I saw this:

“I complete 49% of the reading assigned to me” – “Only 26% are relevant to my life”. Compare that to a 4 class semester. Out of all your classes, 2 of them are just interesting enough for you to be willing to put any effort in to them and only one of those two classes will actually benefit you. Personally this is a sigh of relief to me. I have felt I’ve been mocking the education system I wish to be apart of merely by being apart of these statistics. As (mostly) mature individuals, we can usually figure out what is important to learn and what can be cast aside. Obviously, change is needed if the majority of students feel that more than half of their supposedly highly valued education can be disregarded and seen as “unimportant”. If this change does not occur, I believe it is future generations that are at risk. The ever changing climate and culture of elementary and secondary schools seems to be a direct contrast to the rather stagnant culture of university. There was a day where from Grade 1 on, you might spend your entire day in your desk, listening to a lecture or speech. When you grow up to this somewhat bland teaching system, university is not much of shock. Now that teaching has become more student centred, how will these students cope when the only personal affiliation with their professor might be a weekly 1-hour meeting on the problems of their essay. The stats in the video are only going to get worse as universities continue to keep the “19th century environment” that dominate the majority of our classes.

“I buy $100 textbooks that I never open”. This does not surprise me at all. My textbooks this year cost me $560. $60 of that was spent on textbooks totally unrelated to any of my classes this semester. I’m sure it’s no surprise which books have had the most value so far. I’ve already read one extra textbook (“The First Days of School” by Harry and Rosemary Wong which I strongly encourage ALL teachers to pick up) while 3 of my books are still in the bag I brought them home in. Some may even stay there for the whole semester. Why? Because I know my professors are just going summarize the important parts of the reading and tell me (explicitly or not) what parts I may be tested on. Did I learn anything? A lot actually. I learned how to “read” my professor better, I learned how to pass the class, and I learned whatever information happened to be on my laptop whether it was related to the class or not. I write this not to mock or criticize my professors or the university in general but only to inform how easy it is for a student to become a statistic like the ones in this video. Change is needed in university just as much as it is in primary school.

As far as my teaching goes. My university experience as a student will definitely impact my own methods. However I regrettably feel that the lesson is “What not to do”. I find it amusing how many education professors will preach the values of student centred learning while the university continues to create classes of around 100 students. Why is student centred learning limited to the K-12 program? Every student of any age reading this should remember to ask themselves the most important question. “What exactly did I learn today?” Learning about math, English, and science is nice. Learning about life is better.

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