Friday, May 26, 2006


There is a beach that I really enjoy visiting. As well as being very beautiful with crystal clear waters, it has some great three, four, even five high metre waves. It's the thing that keeps me coming back to the place time and time again. However, most people here prefer the sea when its calm and smooth as a billiard table, they like the fact that it is just like a swimming pool, predictable, safe.

Now the secret to swimming with large waves is to know when to enter the sea. Go in too late and you get hit by the full force of the wave, which can knock you for six. Get it right and its like having your own personal carnival ride.

It occurred to me that this is a good analogy as far as using technology in the classroom is concerned, reading blogs such as Cool Cat Teacher, Ewan McIntosh's Edublog or EFL Geek I see teachers wading out to meet the huge changes that are rapidly approaching, preparing their students to deal with and even enjoy the such developments'

On the other hand those teachers and institutions that ignore the existence of such changes are going to hit doubly hard by the swiftness of the technological, economic and geopolitical wave that is coming our way.

They believe that they can keep on teaching using the materials and approaches they have always used and feel most comfortable with. That the outside world will not intrude upon what happens inside the classroom. I wonder how deep the water has to get before they realise change is inevitable ?


Sean said...

Thanks for the plug. don't be so humble, you should have included yourself on your list.

teacher dude said...

Well, in a sense the whole blog is a plug for myself so I guess I can share the glory for a post or two LOL.

Joking aside, I do believe that you and the others are pushing the envelope as far as teaching is concerned. It may seem that at times we are banging our heads against a brick wall and that we have to struggle for every tiny step foward, but that is part and parcel of being at the forefront of something knew.

Do you think the Wright brothers were satisfied with "hopping" just a few hundred yards on their first flight ?

Anonymous said...

i enjoy technology but let's put this technology thing into some perspective:

the overwhelming majority of humans on the planet who learn languages other than their mother-tongue are doing so without the aid of current computer technology.

it's a tool...a very good one perhaps, but not an indispensable one.

hope that didnt' come across too snarky. i didn't mean for it to.

melusina said...

Can you imagine if doctors stayed behind and did only what they were comfortable with? What if lawyers didn't keep up to date with precedent?

While I can understand the reasons for teachers sticking with what is comfortable, in this day and age that really doesn't - and can't work. Teachers who don't stay on top of new approaches, mediums, and materials for teaching can't really be teachers, can they?

And I'm not just talking about technology, or teaching second languages, either. I think this applies across the board.

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher said...

What a great point! I think education does very well in virtual stasis but has traditionally not done well in states of flux.

As far as technology is concerned, I believe the large educational bureaucracies are going to have to decentralize some of their curriculum so that local organizations can teach and respond to technological change more quickly.

I can teach and "ride the wave" so to speak because of a visionary curriculum director who has put a lot of control in my hands.

In my case, I can grab my board and hit the wave and give her the high sign as my students and I ride the crest.

I love this analogy and will keep it as I talk about change this summer! Great post! I love reading your blog! Thank you for reading mine!

teacher dude said...

First of all, I'd like to thank you, Daniel for your comment, no it didn't sound snarky at all and I hope you tell me what you think of the post I wrote about it.

(I hope you don't mind me quoting you.)

Also, Vicky for your comments. They are epecially welcome from someone whose work I really admire. I agree that educational authorities are often poor at dealing with rapid change.

I would also like to say, Mel that you too are absolutely right. With the exception of Law I can't think of any other profession that has stayed as static as teaching.

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher said...

I've written about your post but couldn't link to it directly, you may want to add archives, and have it post to individual pages so that we can link to your work. You are doing a great job!

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher said...

Sorry, I got it to work. I think perhaps blogger had a problem and did not give me the hyperlink.