I would like to add some futher assumptions which I’ve experienced in my shorter teaching career, either from myself or others:
(1) We’ve got the job, so now we can stop learning. Interest in reading articles, ongoing study, PD seems to dip once a job is secured.
(2) Education is about knowledge, so that is what we teach. The transition to teaching students skills to locate and analyse information is slow.
(3) Administrators care about learning. My experience here is that they care about money and power more.
(4) Students should remain together as a class for all subjects. I think there is a place for streaming, especially when there are large disrepancies within the same group.
(5) We should always teach inside a classroom. OK, excursions can be risky and expensive, but why can’t we just sit outside or explore the school environment sometimes?
(6) We know best. Students have nothing to teach us, nor do senior teachers, colleagues or trainers, or so it seems to some.
(7) We must plan every detail of each lesson and stick to it. What happened to student-centred learning?
(8) We must use the textbook, and preferably all of it from front to back, after all the school chose it and the parents paid for it. Well, perhaps there are other materials?
(9) What is new is always better than what is not. Some teachers aren’t ready or able to “throw out the baby with the bath water” yet, and many new ideas need time to prove themselves effective in the field, particularly for uses they were not designed for.
(10) Finally, I’m reminded of a line (the source of which eludes me) “When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME”. Some assumptions are useful and even necessary when time is pressing, but others need more careful thought to see whether they are still true or functional today.
Let’s try to minimise the ass-making by examining our assumptions before we automatically “assume” – meaning “to take them on” – them.
Posted on June 4, 2010 at 12:06 AM