Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Something to think of during the break.

The young musicians, aged from 13 to 15 have dared to play a challenging tune on a big stage for a competition which 160  ensembles of junior high schools in Tokyo entered. It was held at one of the largest concert  hall in west Tokyo. In front of them, there were heaps of audience and some intimidating looking judges. Their pressure might have been enormous due to the expectation from peers from the school and the club. In spite of the daunting situation, they stood high in the center of the stage and played their music in harmony. Their outstanding efforts and devotion brought them the Gold prize and admirations from their peers, instructors and parents. Nobody forced them to do. It was merely their free will to enter the ensemble and the competition.

Had witnessed what kids can do when they put their heart into it, what Kohn asserts in this video make sense more. Part of his assertion can be a bit too extreme and too generalizing for I also know that some kids can find their places even in a traditional education system, memorizing facts and figures and flourish in their own way. And perhaps the real world is not that ideal place to live on with heaps of controversial issues and contradictions as we all know. Perhaps the patience and steadfast will can be emerged from rather bitter experiences in school days. One of the auto biological books of a legendary teacher from one of the elite school, Nada, says hard work and lots of devotion from an educator make differences at school. His way was rather unconventional in terms of contents to teach.  Yet in terms of amount of work and devotion required from students and teacher-centered style, his way is conventional. I am sure there are many other cases that traditional education work well and some of them might have found their places at school and become teachers. With passion and devotion, children might be able to absorb something from the class. But I think traditional teacher-centered way doesn't work to everyone, either.  So, it is only fair if schools come up with unique and alternative ways, depending on the learning style, social and cultural circumstance, mindset and other variables each student might have or may deal with. Because it is not impossible if all the educators and stakeholders put their heart into the reformation. Progressive education Kohn asserts might not make the ideal and perfect education but at least the ownership of learning would be given to the learners and there are more chances that they might feel more engaged and enjoyable in learning. What educators and stakeholders can do is to facilitate the comfortable and welcoming spaces for learners to flourish and also provide supports when needed. Then learners might be able to apply their own style to learn how to solve puzzles that they wonder in the real world. Finding some convincing answers for your puzzles can be time-consuming and requires hard work as well but at least you are actively involved in the quest and perhaps that is what excites us.

In much smaller scale, what I can do is to provide such a place for young learners of English. Just imagining the faces in flow get me excited!

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