Jan 17 2010
1) When learners don’t learn what was planned
Just as only some of the things learners learn will have been in the lesson plan as learning objectives (see Allwright, 1984a. “Why don’t learners learn what teachers teach?” some of the learning objectives will remain unlearned. When learners do not learn these targeted items, trainee teachers may well be deeply frustrated and the trainer disappointed in the trainee’s performance. The learners, too, may feel guilty or inadequate if they notice the teacher’s frustration, or simply realise that they did not learn what they were expected to. The fact that they may have learned many things not on the teacher’s plan will go unnoticed and be of no comfort to anyone.
Allwright, R The Developing Language Learner (2009)
2) “The philosophy of Lao Tsu is simple: Accept what is in front of you without wanting the situation to be other than it is, Study the natural order of things and work with it rather than against it, for to try to change what is only sets up resistance. Nature provides everything without requiring payment or thanks and also provides for all without discrimination—therefore let us present the same face to everyone and treat all men as equals, however they may behave. If we watch carefully, we will see that work proceeds more quickly and easily if we stop “trying,” if we stop putting in so much extra effort, if we stop looking for results. In the clarity of a still and open mind, truth will be reflected. We will come to appreciate the original meaning of the word “understand,” which means to stand under”. We serve whatever or whoever stands before us, without any thought for ourselves. Te—which may be translated as “virtue” or “strength”—lies always In Tao, or “natural law.” In other words: Simply be.”
“The Tao Te Ching, the esoteric but infinitely practical book written most probably in the sixth century B.C. by Lao Tsu, has been translated more frequently than any work except the Bible. This translation of the Chinese classic, which was first published twenty-five years ago, has sold more copies than any of the others. It offers the essence of each word and make Lao Tsu’s teaching Immediate and alive. ” The above passages were taken from the back cover of: Tao de Ching: 25th Anniversary Edition.
3) The ideal of using the present simply to get ready for the future contradicts itself. It omits, and even shuts out, the very conditions by which a person can be prepared for the future. We always live at the time we live and not at some other time, and only by extracting at each present time the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same thing in the future. This is the only preparation which in the long run amounts to anything ( John Dewey. 1963 Experience and Education MacMillan London, quoted in Legutke, M & Thomas, H. Process and Experience in the Language Classroom Longman New York 1991
4) A quote mentioned by Scott Thornbury on Feb 9th on his A-Z of ELT site, echoing the above quote by John Dewey.
Some further thoughts on presence, from a paper by Carol R. Rodgers and Miriam Raider-Roth, called ‘Presence in Teaching’ and published in Teacher and Teaching theory and practice, Vol 12, No3, June 2006:
The experience of presence is one most will recognize, particularly from their experiences as learners. Many of us have come across a teacher who, with the metaphorical touch of a finger, could give us exactly what we needed—neither more nor less—exactly when we needed it. A teacher who was present to—who could apprehend, make sense of, and respond skillfully to—our needs, strengths, and experiences as learners. From the learner’s point of view the moment is one of recognition, of feeling seen and understood, not just emotionally, but cognitively, physically, and even spiritually. It is a feeling of being safe, where one is drawn to risk because of the discoveries it might reveal; it is the excitement of discovering one’s self in the context of the larger world, rather than the worry of losing one’s self, in the process.
They add, “Presence from the teacher’s point of view is the experience of bringing one’s whole self to full attention so as to perceive what is happening in the moment.” This seems analogous to the concept of the ‘flow’ experience, as articulated by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a characteristic of which is an undistracted concentration on the here-and-now.