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No More “Old School”

Posted by tiffanylu on October 10, 2008

It’s not sufficient for students to simply memorize concepts and regurgitate it on tests, which was often the “old school” method of teaching.  Thinking back, how many of you can say that you truly understood the underlying reasons for many of the concepts?  Given that Chinese is not a conceptual subject, “old school” teaching methods and execution are still applied; but is it something that we want to continue to use?  Chinese school sessions typically run like this: the teacher stands in front of the classroom and lectures, while the students are expected to attentively absorb the information; there’s no room for hands-on activities or student collaboration.  These elements are crucial in a classroom, because even the attention span of adults is limited.  Speaking as someone who attended Chinese school for ten years, it is the teachers that incorporated lessons into games and activities that stick in my mind.  Successful activities require a knowlegde of the students’ psychological and physical developements.  Teachers should implement activities that are developmentally appropriate; meaning, activities that are challenging, but not too difficult or too easy.  It’s also an “old school” mentality to mandate students to sit quietly and attentively at their seats.  How do you define a “good” student?  Is it one who sits quietly, does all his/her work, and get good grades?  Is a student “bad” if he/she talks frequently and rarely does work?  A teacher needs to look beyond these actions to even begin to judge a student.  Maybe the student talks a lot because he/she is curious, or chooses not to do work because he/she lacks intrinsic motivation.  The goal of a teacher should be to spark an interest to learning, not to create zombies.  What do you think?

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