Last Monday, March the 10th, we assisted to an especial and a different class… Maybe it is better that we refer to it as a “learning experience”. This session was related to our study topic of the week: Exploring the dark side of textbooks. But in this occasion, what we were called to do was going further…
What happens if we don´t use textbooks? What could we do then? Yes, we need to plan our classes, there is a curriculum, and there is a need for choosing or developing good materials to be able to teach. After reflecting on the fact that textbooks are not covering the whole extension of this need... and even on the contrary, considering that textbooks most of the times just limit the possibilities of teaching and learning, Londones came to give us some presents…
Giving someone else your experience is a present, giving someone inspiration is an invaluable present. Well, Londones came to show us that there is hope… that there is learning and teaching beyond textbooks, and maybe a more quality one.
Fortunately, it is not the first time we meet a teacher practising this. We all can think of teachers who were building their own lesson plan, carrying lots of materials (as londones did) or recommending us several books and different resources that they knew in deep and that they had used to explain a theme. Maybe the difference is that some teachers love not only their subject, the topics they teach, but they also love teaching, they love the profession, and they don´t have any other escape that orientating others in the difficult task of teaching.
Londones was trying to send us some messages... Why getting stuck in a textbook when there are so many good materials around? Why limiting our knowledge to a textbook (or even just to a good book...). This was the time for us to go away and look for contents outside the class. Everything around us can be object of study. Curiosity, observation, capacity to relate things that most of the times are not going together and integrate them to give a message... We tried to look for our lost content. Did we find it? Well, we are not sure, it´s the price we have to pay for being a long time in a study system that doesn´t really promote creativity and tangential thought... It was a little bit scary... we were not sure of if we were doing “the right thing”. But, at least, we observed around us, we paid attention, we had a thought in a different way...
In our search, there were several things that cached our attention: we selected an announcement in the Education Faculty that we didn´t expect to find there; it was about some fashion magazine and its offer of postgraduate scholarships for graduated women with good grades. Somehow, it made us think about fashion and education... being closer than anyone could had expected.
We looked aswell at the empty classes, which made us think of what really constitute education... students, teachers and the interaction between them through the transmission of knowledge...
We even had a look to the “Socialization area”... well, socialization is something that has a big impact on students, and now an especial area apart from the cantina has been arranged for it, and it has its own name...somehow shocking.
We realised that we had to look, open our mind, look again, and rethink what we already thought that we knew... But it is still not easy!
There it is a sentence I read some years ago from a little book that an inspiring group instructor gave me as a present, and I read it so many times that I learnt it by heart. Here you have it, as a present, in case you want it:
“It’s not inspiring books or presentations that change people`s life; they simply act as a catalyst. It is what you choose to believe and act upon, that’s where the change comes. No one can change the life of any individual except that individual.”
So, what do we choose to believe?
Let´s break stereotypes… Let´s Learn… Let´s Teach.
Thank you, Londones, for being a catalyst; thanks to all the good teachers that have been and are around us.