There have been a number of occasions this summer where I have noticed a few prominent tweeters and bloggers doing their best to discredit fantastic teaching methodologies such as PBL and Sugata Mitra’s S.O.L.E.
The disappointing thing isn’t the fact they disagree with such teaching methods (everyone has a right to an opinion). It’s the fact they do their best to discredit these methods as some sort of Witchcraft, poor research or new fad because it doesn’t fit with their own ideologies. This in turn leads others to think that these new methods (which the majority of the time are more effective) of practice are in some dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Could it be that these individuals don’t want these new methods to work because they are personally threatened by another way of thinking? Maybe compliance, standardisation, conformity and control is all they understand. Maybe it’s what they know and it is ingrained within their psyche. Or maybe, it’s just because change is difficult when they don’t understand things.
Of course they all try to defend their own methods that are in many cases outdated in a modern world but they believe these methods are built on ‘good traditional’ teaching values. Any attempt to see the teaching world in any other way is seen as some sort of crazy talk. They then spend their time finding research to fit their views.
I’ve researched S.O.L.E. and other amazing new ways to practice; so have the professionals and academics I work with. These professionals have put some of these practices into the classroom and student results have increased far beyond expectations! Cohorts of students have surpassed their previously perceived abilities and achieve incredible results academically, socially and emotionally! Why? because these teaching methods have been ‘proven’ to be more effective. However, the so called ‘traditionalist’ (they referred to themselves this way not me) still do everything to discredit these amazing achievements and put others off using them!
Do the doomsayers have their reasons for attacking professionals doing an amazing job? We have gone out of our way to learn from others by being open minded about what the world could look like. When we find something that improves outcomes we implement these practices instead of just talking about them and then trying to disprove them. Carol Dweck would question their closed mindsets, it’s the ‘my way or the highway’ syndrome.
Their methods might work in some limited way to be able to ‘pass the test’ and they can pat each other on the back telling everyone about the fab job they are doing. The point they’re missing in their rants about so called ‘new ideas’ is that just passing the ‘tests’ isn’t an education!
Isn’t it time to leave the forward thinking, creative educators alone to get on with the amazing job they’re doing (after all most of them are getting better results than the doomsayers)? Why can’t we just stop trying to damage good practice because you don’t understand it and/or it doesn’t fit with your own ideals.
We live in an age where the education profession isn’t the easiest of places to work. Competition, local/ national politics, ofsted, the raising of the ever-higher bar, the confusion of what matters and what doesn’t, constant interference from external forces! The last thing we need is other educators making life even harder!
We’ve worked hard to help educators to excel so their students can excel! We have proven results! So please stop your calls of witchcraft, let’s work together and start celebrating the things that help our students succeed!