A challenge

I love my job, I really do and I think I’m very lucky to live in a period when teachers have so many possibilities to be creative using so many tools. Every day I find out a new one and each seems extraordinary and I want to have a try at once. I had never dreamt of creating comics in order to illustrate literay devices or crosswords as a means to revise Shakespeare’s sonnets. I enjoy trying new ways to reach a goal and I feel quite confident now with the use of Web2.0 technology. I have anyway a long journey ahead of me. The problem now is to make my students really creative. I always hear people talking about these “digital natives”, but what does it exactly mean? As far as I see, young people are confident with their computers only when they want to change their desktop background or to edit their profile and upload photos on sites, but when I ask them to create a presentation, the only thing they can think of is a power point. They don’t know about prezi, glogster or other tools. Of course they are fascinated when I then show them some examples or when they watch my presentations about Hamlet of Geoffrey Chaucer and always ask me “but did you really do this???” Then I create tutorials in order to show them how to do even better stuff, but if I’m lucky one or two try to do something similar, the rest is satisfied with what they have seen and that’s all. I know motivation is the spring for all this: mine comes from my need to be interesting and not boring during my lessons, from the awareness that young people need new products and new ways in which topics are to be introduced. And last but not least, from the fun I have while using such tools. But what about their motivation? What shall we do in order to make them really want to do something different? Because it takes time to learn how to use a new tool and they are often lazy, but if I can make it, of course they should make it much better and faster. This is the challenge for me now: make them really want to use Voicethread to show their school to their partners in a project. It won’t be easy.

2 thoughts on “A challenge

  1. Dear Alessandra,
    I absolutely agree with you. I feel so motivated and really amazed discovering the wonderful opportunities available nowadays to us teachers. There are so many ICT applications that make our teaching a playful and pleasant activity!I enjoy it because I like being creative, getting out of the routine, giving vent to my emotions, and express my ideas but very often I have to cope with a feeling of disappointment and frustration because I often lack time. There are so many beautiful things that I would like to introduce quickly, and properly to improve my teaching, as you rightly said, because I would like my lessons not to be boring, I would like to be able to highly motivate my students, encourage them to be curious and interested, help them rise and fly… And quite often I find that their energy, and their interest, are very, very low. I have noticed that they lack motivation, often creativity and responsibility… Fortunately there are a few who get involved easily but this makes me really wonder what else should be changed. On the other side what puzzles me is that I can notice that there are colleagues who teach in the classical teacher-centred way and the students’ committment is exemplary. I don’t think that their is the right way to teach and motivate, I only wonder what could be the right formula to inspire them deeply, to make them get really deeply involved and start producing ideas, and be creative… Sometimes I’ve got the impression that there are too many stimuli around, everything is so easily accessible that it doesn’t require any effort to get, whether it is knowledge (reading books, writing essays) or simply objects. Or maybe they are not used to working in an independent way, to being actively involved, it is easier for them to reproduce instead of producing, there is no need to think, be resourceful and take risks…
    but often makes them passive

  2. Hi Silvana and thanks for your comment. The situation you describe is the same I experience every day but, as far as students are concerned, I think the only thing we can work on is their motivation. It takes me ages to prepare lesson plans because I try to find out ways to make everything stimulating and when once I told a colleague that the best time for me to work is during the summer holidays when I’m free from any schedule and so can organize my work better, she replied she is intelligent enough not to need to prepare her lessons after so many years of teaching! I don’t want to be a “ dispenser of knowledge” but a longlife learner and am so naive to believe that if I am enthusiastic about something I’ll be able to communicate my enthusiasm to others and so involve them. By the way, you know? My students have created loads of Christmas glogster and also a couple of presentations using Voicethread! Have a look here http://fedy95.glogster.com/christmas

    Merry Christmas 🙂

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