October 28, 2019

Staff room epistemological highlights

Sitting next to me at one of the computers in the staff room was a science teacher of no little experience and maturity. He was busy preparing a hand-out sheet when with a deep sigh, he mentioned he would need to find some Tippex (other brands are available). Surprised, I glanced at what he was doing, "I could do without all these symbols", he remarked staring at the picture image on his powerpoint presentation. Eager to offer support (and naturally bearing in mind teaching standards part two) I was happy to suggest he insert a box, do a bit of formatting and, as if by magic, the result he was looking for was achieved. Such was his joy that his mood immediately lightened and after at least two high-fives later, this newly acquired knowledge was already rippling, wave-like to his fellow colleague the other side. "Look what you can learn by talking" he exclaimed." Bingo! "All learning is social, according to Vygotsky, I proudly announced, keen to ensure good academic deference, whilst happily condensing too many journal articles into a crudely 'constructed' and grossly oversimplified sound bite (hey, I’m team maths, we like abstraction). A short discussion ensued to the point where our respective zones of development were appropriately proximal, and we returned to our respective tasks. The Plenary. So, what happened here? Well, while the radical constructivists tussle over the epistemological nature of objective truth, or otherwise, we seem to have at least some evidence that learning took place through social interaction, go Lev, and don’t forget to put it in your PDP. People were made happy through the learning experience (smiley face), and I managed to deliver, albeit of a largely procedural nature, one of my best lessons of the week!


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