If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way that they learn.
I was not planning on writing the blog post this week but after reading several blogs, I had some questions and several thoughts which I would like to pen down through this post.
When I was reading the post titled ‘How the hidden brain does the thinking for us’, I was reminded of an incident in one of my classes (Grade 1) where we were awarded a ‘Red Star’ when we did well in a class test and were given a ‘Black star’ when we did not. Although the intention of this exercise was not bad i.e. to encourage students to perform better in class. But it did create a bias early on in my and my classmates’ mind that getting a black star is not good. And that bias might have impacted my decisions several times in my life. I would have gone on an auto-pilot mode without even thinking that I might be doing something which may hurt someone’s feelings.
Another incident which comes across my mind is that when I was around 7 years old, playing with my cousin who was a year younger. One of our relatives came to visit us and brought gifts for both of us. They bought a car and a kitchen set. Who do you think got the car and who do you think got the kitchen set? Well, the guest just kept the gifts without mentioning which gift is for whom. My brother, who was younger to me, wanted to go first, although I was not very happy with him choosing first, I let him do so. However, I did this for a reason and that is I was very sure that he will choose a car and the kitchen set will still be mine. But it did not happen the way I thought, he chose the kitchen set instead. And rest is history (We settled our scores without involving the elders and may not be relevant for this post). But my point here is that who told me that he would choose a car and not the kitchen set? Well no one directly, but, most of my family members indirectly. This was another bias created by most of my family members by bringing in toys which were related to home decoration, home-building, barbies, etc. for me. While my cousin brother had toys which were mostly cars, guns, etc. But the readings for this week have taught me about something which may be important for knowing to be a teacher but is also important to know otherwise.
When I read these posts, I realize how difficult it is to overcome one’s biases and make a class, a place which is safe for each and every student in there. The readings have made me more respectful towards the teaching profession and I would like to thank them for creating an environment which is open and safe and where we can speak up without being judged or discriminated. I would like to conclude by saying that discussions on such topics should be done more often and with people having an opinion not similar to yours. This will not only educate you on some of the issues you were unaware of but also understand their perspective.