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MY vs. THE

Published on June 1, 2010 by in Thoughts
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It is very interesting when talking to teachers how they view their classes and students. It is very telling how they perceive themselves within the classroom and how they think students should learn. The words “MY” and “THE” tell the real story!

My class, my choir, my band, Oh MY!
This teacher views themselves as a “sage,” where all information comes and they direct the class instruction. The teacher is responsible for the projects and the direction of the class is to take. They are the know-all, see-all and creator of materials.

Just a few words

The class, the ensemble, the project
This is an educator that views instruction WITH the student FOR the student. They may be a teacher or a facilitator. They see education as a group effort, learning from each other on a equal basis. The curriculum takes a giant leap ahead when the students take an active role in creating. The ownership is with everyone that is in the class. The learning is during the class time and after hours, since both the student and teacher are responsible for learning and teaching. Yes, the teacher is involved, but the students take a more integrated role in creating activities and projects that others can learn from.

Now What Do We Do?
In order to move education forward and have individual learning take place the “MY” must be gone, instead we need “THE.” The problem is that teachers were taught “MY” way and continue to teach the way they were taught. But having this discussion is the first step. The second step is letting go, by letting “THE” students be engaged and letting “the” creative process be the direction, not “MY” facts about the subject.

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3 Comments  comments 

3 Responses

  1. I’ll never forget the experience I had with the “my” versus “the” attitude that you speak of. I was in my first month teaching in a new high school band program. During a rehearsal, a few of the students were speaking very rudely to each other. I told them “We don’t talk to each other that way in my band.” A few weeks later, there was a situation that prompted a meeting between my senior band members, their paretns, and school administration. The students were upset with some of the decisions I had made. When pressed to explain, one of the seniors said, “Well, you keep saying it’s YOUR band.” I really had only said that phrase once, but it had a lasting impression, and I don’t use it anymore.

  2. Interesting point……
    How ’bout using “our class”, and “our choir”, etc. I like the ownership implications….

  3. This is EXACTLY the dichotomy I’m experiencing right now in my situation. It causes tremendous conflict between the musical disciplines in our school. I’m definitely more of an “us” and am working very hard to encourage the definitions of programs as “ours”. When I arrived, moved the chairs out of the K-5 room to encourage movement and let the children accompany themselves in the first concert, I knew there would be conflict, but I wouldn’t change it for a second. Thanks for your post Carol.

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