Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Diversity in teaching

To my mind teachers do not always appreciate that diversity in teaching is not only desireable but necessary to ensure the greatest number of students succeed. Some teachers are stricter than others, some are more your pal, some are a shoulder to cry on, some are like a rock, some teach with chalk, others through experience, most with some combination not perfect for all, but for a few just what the doctor ordered.

Teachers tend to judge teachers by their own standards and how the interaction with our students causes problems in our own classes. The kid who thinks we are too strict, or the kid who plays up in our class because they have been clamped on in the class before.

This is always exascerbated by the lack of communication especially outside your own department and outside subject specialisations. Teachers tend to be masters of their own domain and the culture is reinforced by a system that attacks teachers that are struggling - in earlier years of teaching the only path to success seems to be to shut the door and figure things out for yourself.

Being a bit of a talker (thus this blog) I've never been able to adhere to a closed door strategy. With a bit of creative timetabling and support by our admin we've sought to use our teacher diversity to match students to teachers and move students between classes that are not responding well. This has used our diversity to provide a real positive influence this year on the class cohort and limited possible negative influences caused through student teacher interactions.

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