Integrating the Australian Curriculum Using Web2.0
Via the most fantastic finding on Twitter of the past few days of the use of #edchat tag, the world of twitter and resource sharing has opened a new leaf. The amount of links and resources now flooding through my tweetdeck is almost too much to handle. However, with the vast array of resources, I have explored many quality links and have been able to explore more possibilities for my classroom.

I read in the recording of last week’s #edchat conversation the line:

"#edchat Why waste time on the slackers? If they don't care about educ., don't force it on them. Spend time on the smart kids, who care."

This really made me think. Do teachers actually believe this? And without sound harsh is this something that a teacher should be saying?  Of course I realise how preachy I sound, and perhaps how naive considering as I haven’t been ‘stuck’ in a classroom with 30 destructive kids for a couple of years, however this comment has had a deep clash with my ideals.  There are students who may not have the same kind of educational motivation that I have had, or the students who I have been teaching on practical experience.  These student’s beliefs and actions, (I believe) are a result of their past experiences with education, their upbringing and other social factors both from within the student and from their peers.  Does this mean we give up?  Is that what educators do, just give up on students who show little attention or don’t want to contribute? 

Short answer, I believe we do not give up on any student.  So many ideas come to mind as to how we should be encouraging these students and putting more effort in, not less to inspire them and engage them in the process of education.  This conversation arose from twitter, well do you think these students have myspace, facebook, twitter, youtube accounts?  I would like to assume, that if these students have the financial ability at home, they are on these websites and spending a large amount of their time (like all other students) on these social networking sites.  This gives teachers the opportunity to allow such students (all students) to explore their education, to learn and develop through using these great facilities. I was pondering last night as I was trying to fall asleep, a possible lesson plan. Having students search up the price of their favourite video game, let’s say the wii (which has become so popular over the past 12 months).  Have students check the price of the wii across the world, see how it compares in China, India, America, UK, Canada, and Germany.  They could go about this by asking students from all around the world on Facebook, twitter etc, or they could search for it. They could find out what video consoles people are using throughout the world. This activity would involve maths, English (communication skills both writing and oral) and perhaps geography if they were to represent their findings on a map.   I would like to think that if any students were given this task, they would not consider it work, they would enjoy doing it, as it incorporates their world not ours and they are learning skills which they will be able to use in the real world.

I repeat, we should not be giving up on the ‘slackers’ in our class but spending more time and energy, trying to connect with them in their world. Learning is a partnership between teacher and students.  The teacher therefore must be willing to give up some ground, listen actively to the student’s needs and wishes and use that information to get the most out of them.

I will step off my soap box now. 
01/15/2010 15:05

Hi, Great to see another pre-service teacher blogging!
I agree, those so called 'slackers' are just unmotivated kids. Stickers and incentives are not the answer - what they need is student-centred, engaging learning activities provided by enthusiastic teachers.

Wendy W
04/13/2010 21:57

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through your blogs, comments and twitter page. It has been a great insight into your thoughts and attitudes. I especially agree with your comments about not giving up on slackers. As a teacher of nearly 20 years and having had some very tricky classes it is when these "slackers" achieve that you get your real sense of achievement and understanding of why we do what we do. Keep going and do not give up.


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    This blog is that of a very confused, bewildered and amazed new scheme teacher in Sydney Australia who is hoping with all his might that he doesn't fall on his face. Enjoy!


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