Teaching Today: One Teacher’s Perspective from Hong Kong

 

 

OUR FUTURE IS YOUR OLD AGE

OUR FUTURE IS YOUR OLD AGE (Photo credit: infomatique)

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

Stephen Hawking

 

 

 

Today, knowledge is everywhere.

My international school students access educational videos, tutorials and simulated learning. They realize early on that I am not the end all, be all, and that they can just as easily, and more creatively, find knowledge on their own. Why watch me struggle with an answer when they can easily go to http://www.Brainpop.com?

 

Essentially, my traditional professional life has ended and is not coming back. Just last week, our school’s librarian (another profession on the ropes?) passed out Kindles for the teachers. My students already have mastered eBooks and are waiting for me. I have ridden the waves of educational technology and even I am having a difficult time keeping up. I foresee the day when my classroom is devoid of any books whatsoever. (Perhaps within the next twelve months!)

 

My students have little need for traditional learning. They beg to use Google docs and back channel websites such as TodaysMeet so that they can collaborate and learn together. They beg to play math games online. Who am I to stop them from learning this way? They demand that I let them learn in learning pairs or trios.

 

Everyday, supervisors judge me on how engaged my students seem. I know that the students are trying to focus but oftentimes they wait for me to stop talking so they can go back to learning their way. I do not blame them in the least.

 

It is scary how fast their world is moving. Due, in part to this, my confidence in my teaching ability is low. I remain optimistic about their future and I do see tangible positive results. However, my days as a teacher are dwindling; at least, the classroom teacher that I have always recognized.

 

When I was their age, Cape Cod was a journey. My students give each other tips on how to deal with jet lag.  I used to memorize world capitals, while they visit them. At their age, I was reading Encyclopedia Brown; they are comparing the internal and external traits of the many characters in Harry Potter. I helped my teacher thread film into a projector. They are creating brain-friendly presentations and asking me how to embed video. When I was ten, I didn’t even know the meaning of the word, “embed.”

 

Each teacher and parent is struggling with change. What gives me hope is curriculum development. Curriculum is best when it rewards innovation and collaboration to solve real problems. I see a near future where curriculum builds on the students’ energy and wish to make their world better. I see schools changing to fit the needs of students and not our misconceptions of what they need to learn. I have been able to give my students snippets of Challenge-Based Learning. During these times, I never once need worry about student engagement.

 

Essentially,teaching is redefined each year. I accept this as fact and give up thinking that traditional teaching practices work.

 

Am I the only teacher that feels this way?

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Teaching Today: One Teacher’s Perspective from Hong Kong

  1. Pingback: Communication schools are worthless « Employee Communications Specialist

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  3. Pingback: The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself. | philosiblog

  4. Not every school has technology like your school has. I taught differently in a 1:1 environment.

    Traditional classrooms still exist. You can find them. But, after teaching in ways you have, would you be able to teach in a traditional classroom?

    You could. But you’d miss the tech :).

  5. Pingback: Expat Teacher Man | Leaving Hong Kong

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