Heart-felt pedagogy : the difference between a class and a community
Real learning is rarely possible in an environment in which teachers and students wage war, but how is it possible to transform a classroom into a negotiated community? The author discusses a video made by students using mobile phone cameras which shows seven harmful classroom interactions which escalate into a harmful confrontation. While the video does not show the full context, viewers can see two key emotional tensions: the teacher is preoccupied and the students have been given nothing to do. What could have replaced boredom and conflict? A respectful relational approach to teaching and learning relies on the heart-to-heart connections a teacher makes in community with students as she or he leads them on a journey of life and discovery, not on the will of the teacher to control a class of students during a 50-minute period. What is needed above all to create and maintain a respectful relational approach is 'love', which is generally absent from public discussions of education. Collectivity is a mere bundling together of teachers and students for 50-minute classes, whereas community is no longer just being side by side but with one another. [Author abstract, ed]
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