Often, especially these days, teachers are faced with the dilemma of how to make the best educational choice for their students.
After many many years of experience you know and have tried and tested the best ways your students learn. Year in and year out you’ve tried this and that, mixed it up, changed the format, the structure, the timing and from all of that ‘research’ you’re now an expert in your field – educating our children.
What is difficult these days is that technology seems to be replacing some of the best ‘tools’ you have in your tool kit.
Whilst technology has its place as an educational tool, it is increasingly used as an inferior substitute for time honored old-school technology.
So how do you make the best educational choice for your students?
What is the best educational choice when it comes to technology in the classroom?
Do you stick to your guns, stamp your feet and insist on ‘your ways’ at the very real risk of coming across as a Luddite— someone against change and progression?
Or do you go with it, implement every new wiz bang device into the classroom while feeling like a known accomplice to something that is jeopardizing your children’s best education?
Try to stay true to what you know and what works best without coming across as an ‘old’ teacher who hates change.
Here are my tips to help you make the best educational choice for you students:
- Educate yourself:
Always be up to speed with the latest technology so you can make the best educational choice. Remember you’re not against change for the sake of it.
You want what is best for your classroom, so you do of course want to know what is on offer. If your informed you’ve got all the pros and cons to take to the Principal.
- Keep attuned with your students and parents:
You are of course much older than your students and often many of the parents. Keep your ear tuned to what they want and need. Remember, you may think the old ways are better but it may not actually be the best educational choice.
‘What’s best for their education’ should be your mantra. Parents know what their children need, so make sure you take the time to be at the school gates in the morning and afternoon so you can keep informed through the parents.
- Remember you’re an expert:
Stick to what you know works. If you know the basic bead maze does wonders to fine tune-motor skills then stay true to that.
It may be human nature to make others happy but your priority is your students and not keeping the school board happy.
- It’s human nature to want human interaction:
Children will forever love the human contact that the very simple book has to offer. You know yourself that a rambunctious classroom is often placated with a simple story book. It calms the students, it allows them to connect with you again.
They can all settle down and get lost in an imaginative world as you read to them on the carpet – rather than turning on a DVD, an audio book or a power point presentation.
Books are a wonderful vehicle for the children to come into consistent contact with real emotions, sadness, happiness, empathy and the overall excitement of expectation as we all eagerly try to imagine what could possibly happen next as we go to turn the page.
Books allow children an avenue to talk about all those feelings that are the essence of what being a human is all about and it is only human nature for children to need an avenue to explore these feelings.
Everyday teachers are bombarded with offers for new ways to stimulate a child's thinking. This inevitably has teachers having to involve technology into the classroom. Be it the interactive whiteboard, the computer or of course the ubiquitous tablet.
Whilst I believe these are important tools for the classroom or the home, I feel very concerned at the level that we at times expose children's precious brains to the wonder of technology at the expense of nurturing a child's greatest quality which has to be their ever evolving and if allowed, growing imagination.
So I urge all teachers out there to go where you feel comfortable and make the best educational choice for your students in your classroom.
Mary Snedon has been teaching in the classroom for 20 years and has a deep understanding of the ways in which children learn best.
She has seen a drastic transformation away from the basic teaching methods and urges other teachers to stay confident and make the best educational choice.