EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, COMMUNITIES,
& PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMPETENCY
I inserted this video about Paulo Freire because of its emotional power; so visceral, so evocative of the core of his work. His work is the path we must follow if we are to be fully responsive to our own capabilities (and responsibility) to change the world.
Educational Institutions: I don’t write about them with much positivity. I have had personal experience with both public and private ones, and have little respect for most. As a child, I lived
in the midst of a culture clash between my home life (inductive approach) and my years in public, educational institutions (deductive). Private ones, which respected my individuality, were where
I was able to lower my stress levels enough to not mind school.
Because I have such antagonistic feelings about policies, procedures, and practices of schools
and educational institutions, I choose not to write about them, and how these impact effects
of their teaching.
I am still struggling with finding a way to understand why these places think the way they do.
My studies at SIT have opened my mind to many constructive and positive ways to investigate learning and teaching: Approaches (AP), and Intercultural Language Learning and Teaching
(ICLT), in particular. Most TESOL conference speakers have impressed me with their dullness.
Most of the presentations I have attended, and website comments I have read, seemed
intellectually timid to this SIT student.
BUT - I have also read work by TESOL professionals who have opened windows, pulled up
shades, and beamed inspirational learning approaches out to us all. One example I am drawn
to is Scott Thornbury’s adaptation of Dogme, the Danish film movement of the 1990’s, built upon Paulo Friere’s philosophy,
Thornbury’s use of Dogme in language learning strikes a chord with me and my approach to teaching, learning, and living, fully. It is that one may start learning from within, with guidance,
and build language fluency. This also brings Vygotsky’s, Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) to mind, with its theory of progressive scaffolding. My course in Second Language Acquisition
(SLA), opened many doors for me in learning how to learn - to teach. (See my section on Dogme
in my essay on Theories of Contextual Influences on Language Education, in the following
sub-competency essay on Knowledge.)
Community. Taking Dogme into the idea of creating a legacy for life, I seek a life of no assumptions, no demands, no expectations outside of what I assume, demand, and expect from myself. I fail in every aspect. My imposition of these actions on myself often leads to judgement of others. That
I judge, is disappointing to me. Yet I do not want to accept categorization of people. Contemporary constructs of whatever label is “politically correct - or incorrect,” and all the reasons for these labels - whatever they may be - cause dissention among us. I see the power of language as the way to a transformative coexistance for all. (see my presentation on The Power of Language attached to
my essay in the Language competency)
The word “community” means all of humanity to me. If I go to where the learner needs me to be,
if I can help that learner open up to every possibility they can strive to reach, then I am a teacher. If
I am able to see what that learner needs, then I am also a learner. What are “communities” in this competency area? Teachers’ Unions? Teachers’ lounges? Classrooms? Chat rooms? Pubs? Social Media? Families? States and Nations?
(http://bit.ly/2wzwz0o), of a first year teacher’s career cycle. Reassessment need not imply
self-doubt as negative emotion, but as thoughtful reflection for greater effectiveness in teaching. Constructive searches for new ways to engage learning, experimentalizing, “trusting one’s gut,” being intrepid in searching for teaching and learning adventures - seeking - striving - finding!
(from Tennyson’s “Ulysses”) And doing it again and again for the joy of discovery.
I will discuss reflection and experimentation with new ways to engage students in the following sub-competency essay about theories of contextual influences on language education.