Written by Miriam Baidoun, former teacher and now English Specialist at CENTURY Tech. Click here to read the full article in TES.
For me, the idea of traditional teaching always evoked terrifying images of Miss Trunchbull locking up an ill-disciplined child in the Chokey, or Professor Snape casting a steely glare across the class as they all turned to page 394.
The progressive teacher was more like Professor Lupin, bringing in a prop – in his case, a wardrobe of Boggarts – and trying something new. Or Mam’zelle Dupont, enjoying the rambunctious atmosphere in her classroom, while the more austere Mam’zelle Rougier looked on disapprovingly.
If these fictional characters were real-life teachers, it would be the Professor Lupins of the world asking the senior leadership team for funds to implement a new tech scheme, sneeringly rejected by the Snapes of the education world: “What these children need is discipline, not a new app for their timetables”.
Keeping them in their seats
During my PGCE, I dreamed I would be more like Lupin, and all the children would love me. But, after my first attempt at group work, I soon started to value the more traditional, disciplined and direct-instructional style of education. My focus was on getting them through the exams and keeping them in their seats, not impressing them with flashy new tech.
If someone had tried to get me to use tech in my classroom, I would have battled my way across the piles of yet-to-be-marked exercise books strewn across the floor to wallop them over the head with my folder of lesson plans. On the rare occasions that computers were involved, I was happy if the machines didn’t die mid-lesson.