We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Brit Floyd was in Pittsburgh to open their 2017 tour on Fri, March 10. Their rendition of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in The Wall" resonated with the entire population of the Benedum Theater (approx. 2900). Was the applause and cheering in response to the song itself or to the lyrics or a combination of the two? The song was released in 1979 and yet my sense is the audience found the message incredibly applicable to today, as well as just really, really good musically!
Let's take a look at the four lines of lyrics. Students (people) do need education. Students do not need "thought control". They need to learn how to think; how to think for themselves; how to express themselves; how to work individually as well as in groups. Sarcasm is not a viable teaching technique (in my opinion). Teachers should not leave students alone (unless...).
As an educator, I have worked in a variety of settings over the past 20 years. Regardless of the era, being "another brick in the wall" educationally is horrible for many students. Bricks are anything but individual. Students are anything but uniform. Yet our educational system is uniform. For part of the student body, uniformity works beautifully. What about those students for whom it does not?
We see so many students that say "My teacher goes too fast", "Our homework isn't corrected", "We don't get to see or take our tests home", "We didn't get a study guide", "My teacher is trying to prepare us for college" and so forth. Whether these comments are "real", they are the students' reality. What these students are saying is something isn't working for them. If education isn't working for or with them, how can they be expected to learn?
How do we help these students learn better? We help by listening, by asking questions, by working with them, by building skills and more importantly, by building confidence. I know, and the tutors at Open Minds know, that all students can learn when the modality for learning fits each student.