Am I Just Blowing in the Wind?

Photo by Gil Epshtein
Photo by Gil Epshtein

Willy Cardoso, in his post “A teacher and his bedrock” asked about having basic principles or beliefs that ground one’s teaching.

I hadn’t thought about this question.

There’s a quote that occured to me in this context but I’m not sure who said it (can’t find it on Google, must be getting it wrong!):

“Once I had 7 principles and no children. Now I have 7 children and no principles”.

I’ve taught a large number of students over the years and my response adhered to that quote – I probably don’t have any! I’m willing to use anything that works for a certain pupil! In my comments  to Willy’s post I gave an example of one of the most exreme teaching situations I’ve experienced with a pupil.

Willy has been patiently exploring that with me and has ignited a fascinating chain of thought! Perhaps principles aren’t what I thought they were…

I urge you to follow the link above, read his post and see where YOU stand.  Perhaps his comments will lead you to a different kind of reflection process, as they have done for me!

5 thoughts on “Am I Just Blowing in the Wind?”

  1. Thanks for this, Naomi!

    I’ve been reading a lot about teacher’s knowledge and beliefs this week, sort of an immersion, and most key texts support the idea that teacher’s beliefs come fundamentally from their experience as a learner and that it’s very difficult to change those beliefs even when talking about experienced teachers; they also say that in training/development activities teachers ‘filter’ information given according to their experiences as learners, needless to say unconsciously, after all it is rare to see training that considers its participants’ beliefs as the starting point.

  2. Hmm – another question to think about!
    Do teacher’s beliefs come fundamentally from their experience as a learner? I’m sure partially so but perhaps with special ed teachers somewhat less so?
    On one hand, I’ve never been deaf, learning disabled or had C.P.
    On the other hand, I had a lot of problems learning math and have drawn on THAT experience whn teaching kids who se English as a scary subject.

    Technical note: I hit the “publish post” button before remembering that I hadn’t gone back and completed the title of the post. As you can see, I completed it two seconds later but it was too late to correct the trackback link which appears on your blog…

  3. Interesting!

    I’m always looking for new ways of doing things, I find that exciting…
    So, I think for me the bedrock would be students’ needs? A multitude of approaches are brought together by this common thread. As students are so varied, so the approaches for reaching them are also varied.
    There’s always a better way, it just needs creating or discovering! Or sort of a mixture between the too… 🙂


  4. Hmm…

    Great questions…


    I would side a bit with Willy’s comment above about teachers being greatly marked by their own learning experience. It’s funny too because if a student asked me how they should learn a language, I would more than likely reply to them— get out of the classroom and go to that country— exactly what’s worked for me, though opportunities for all are not the same.

    Furthermore, I know plenty of students that speak wonderfully w/o ever having left the ‘comfort’ of the classroom, or watching popular English/American TV series.

    Lastly, my bedrock is human. Be an aware and sensitive person in class. Exchange. Enjoy. I hope for my students to reflect on life as much as they reflect on english in class… then again, that demands a certain level of english and you can’t do it in every class.

    Thanks Willy, Thanks Naomi !!!!

  5. Lizzie and Brad!
    Thank you for joining in!
    It seems we most certainly have things in common!
    It’s been a long time since I was in teacher-training – it feels really good to start thinking about these issues!

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