Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Times They Are aChangin'

I watched part of the SMC field hockey game against U-Mass Lowell today. The picture is of Jenny Boudrow who plays for the team and is also an Education major in my math and science course this semester.
Sadly, we lost 3 - 0 but U-M Lowell is ranked #3 in the country so it wasn't too bad.

I enjoy watching field hockey because I used to play in England where it is a really popular men's sport. It's amazing how much the rules have changed over the years for example, when you take a "free hit" you can move with the ball. I think all the rule changes are designed to make it safer: I still have many scars on fingers and shins from my playing days: I used to play for my college, St. Matthias. Sadly the College closed many years ago but there is an Old Lags website that's the nearest thing in the UK to having an Alum Society.

Teaching and Education also change over time in response to prevailing political, social and educational trends and pressures. There is something in the field of Education called "The Pendulum" that I don't think probably exists in any other professional field. The pendulum is
constantly swinging between two polar extremes of educational ideologies. At one extreme is the somewhat progressive approach to education of the 70s and 80s; open schools, open classrooms and the integrated curriculum. The other end of the pendulum swing tends to be characterized by rigid standards based on specifically predetermined classroom teaching strategies and materials; a bit like what we are currently going through, perhaps.

Interestingly, school architecture, as well as many other things, reflects the swings in the pendulum. In South Burlington, each elementary school building has an older part of self contained classrooms built in the 50s with an open plan addition built in the 70s. Around the late 90s the open plan parts of each school were sectioned off into separate classrooms as the pendulum swung away from the progressive thought of the 70s and 80s.

I must admit I'm personally looking forward to a return to the more progressive times in Education: I wonder if it will happen any time soon.

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