Author Topic: Students want their voices to be heard.  (Read 941 times)

Offline thaiga

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Students want their voices to be heard.
« on: February 23, 2015, 04:31:32 PM »
chalk talk

The pursuit of teaching excellence

Our global goal should not be education for all, but quality education for all. The key to educational quality is teaching excellence.

Actually, we can go back 2,400-2,500 years in history to find the essence of great teaching in the philosophical thinking of the Lord Buddha and the Greek thinker Socrates.

As an educator, my favourite sutra in Buddhism is the Kalama Sutra, in which Buddha articulated his highly progressive basic thinking about how to learn. He urges us to be sceptical and critical and to learn from direct experience.

For example, a student walked into a class and made the bold assertion that Neil Armstrong did not really walk on the moon, that the claim was a hoax. The teacher asked the student how he knew this. He said it was on the Internet. He uncritically accepted a statement from the Internet as "truth".

Related directly to this sutra, the late Thai educator Kowit Worapipatana emphasised teachers' roles in fostering "khit-pen" among their students, that is, to teach them to be critical and independent thinkers.

The four sublime states of Buddhism are also traits of great teachers - metta, loving kindness; garuna, compassion; muditha, empathetic joy; and upekkha, tranquillity, equanimity and calm. The last relates to what is now being called EQ - emotional intelligence.

Another key Buddhist concept related to teaching excellence is sati, or mindfulness. Teachers need to be mindful, such as by listening carefully to and respecting all their students, and providing timely, extensive and valuable feedback on their assignments.

The noted Stanford educator Lee Cronbach was famous for providing such feedback to his students.

The Chinese character for listen, "ting", connotes deep and sincere listening from the heart. Students want their voices to be heard. They hate being silenced.

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