Saturday, 17 February 2018

Motivation


Teaching methods  were such, that I had difficulty in keeping myself awake in the classroom during my later schooldays.

I'd fall into reverie only to be suddenly brought back to reality by a red faced pedagog slamming down a desk lid or slapping the back of my head.

 Unable to face the role they themselves played in my lack of interest they often wrote on my school reports something akin to: He is always daydreaming in class. He must learn to pay attention.

The problem was I was bored.

Traditional teaching methods made me despair. I decided to teach myself and often spent hours in the public library where I accumulated dangerous knowledge and  presented challenges to my teachers; my discovery that theVikings were in America long before Columbus for example.

You can imagine they didn't know what to make of me. They often resorted to the cane. Why doesn't he shut up and get on learning these important dates and this useless information we are feeding him, they probably thought.

This morning from Focus I translated a scientific article on how to store tomatoes correctly.

The last time I was in a school was as a volunteer English teacher. It was bedlam. Children, who hadn't had breakfast, shared crisps in the classroom - and often during the lessons!  During the break period games of football went on in the corridors.  And sometimes went on up and down the stairs.

When I questioned a member of staff.  The reply was: The school field is too muddy!

If they don't go outside and burn off some energy I'm going home and not coming back,  I said.

They went outside.  A playtime outside was a thing most of them had never or only rarely experienced.

I couldn't believe the joy in their faces.

There's a lot more to education and school life than sitting in a class and taking it in like a sponge.

20 comments:

  1. I have just left a comment on Cro's blog about a child being bored at school. This is such a common occurrence of clever children soon slipping into boredom. This also happened to me and I couldn't wait to give up school. I am not sure that it was because I was ultra clever, I just wanted to learn in different ways. The answer to this by the nuns was that I was obviously troubled by something. Really it was nothing more than lack of stimulation from the teaching. Fortunately my parents were not troubled by what the nuns said and gave me plenty to do at home. The country schools around here send the children out to play in all weathers, and they also appear to go on accompanied school walks across the footpaths. There is a high school out here in a very rural area and the whole school of about 250 pupils appear to go on regular walks across the fields which I think is amazingly good.

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    1. I think what you described is fantastic. We had 4 periods of sports and gymnastics a week which often contained a three and a half mile cross country run hail rain or shine or a game of rugby, or some other sport. In fact in school athletics I broke my leg showing off by leaping over a hurdle. Today they'd want to sue the school. And that's a big problem. In those days such things were simply part of growing up.

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    2. I've just replied to your comment on Cro's blog regarding the bored child.

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    3. My brothers had one afternoon per week entirely given over to games and sport. Their school was an inner city one and had no playing fields. They used to run a mile to the playing field through the streets. They also used to do "cross country" running through the most hilly streets of the city, some very steep gradients down to the river, would you believe in the city of Norwich. Sport and running were never called off whatever the weather except in 1958 when we had 2 feet of snow. (We found the diary entry recently although we all remembered it anyway). The boys would also carry all the equipment down to the playing field but my mother, being one of the few to have a car, would pick it up and drive it back to the school. My brothers' were still expected to run back with the rest of the school though. The PE master rode in the car with my mother and me.

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    4. We were lucky to have good school playing fields as it was the county grammar school. We arrived everyday in buses from from our villages and towns. In addition to a full afternoon of sports, and a morning gym period we thought nothing of representing the school in sports, in my case rugby and football and travelled far and wide to do so. We went to sporting events at schools all over the north west, Chester, Liverpool, Birkenhead, etc.. and even to Rugby in the midlands to do so. i remember one of my sisters used to play hockey at school. Yes, we were very fortunate.

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  2. I'm glad you like Focus Gwil. I went to read the article. I didn't know that myself.

    From your reply at Rachel's: thank you for, i baci. Un bacio (one kiss) or tanti baci (plenty kisses). Un abbraccio (a hug or embrace) tanti abbracci (plenty hugs). "i" ending in plural, eg. panini for sandwiches is pluranosl for panino...and not paninos. Sorry Gwil, I didn't want to give you a lesson, thought you would like to know.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Carelessness on my part Maria. I should take more care. Vaparetto e vaparetti. Or maybe it was spellchecker. I always blame him :-). In fact he just changed my plural to a singular and I had to change it back again.

      I am always pleased when you correct me. We learn when we make mistakes!

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  3. Pruranol?...that was meant, plural also for panini.

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    1. By the way, thanks for pointing me to Focus. I'm enjoying it. Today I bought Umberto Eco's Numero Zero in two languages, that is to say two books, one in German and one in Italian. I'll scrape through somehow.

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    2. Umberto Eco is not an easy read even in English. Good luck.

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    3. Wow that's a difficult read Gwil, and not only because you'll read it in Italian but also to understand the meanders of our ever so complicated Italian politics is quite a task (for me too). In bocca a lupo! It's on my reading list.
      x

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    4. I read Rachel's comment, only after I,d published mine, and I see she thinks the same, that it is a difficult read.
      x

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    5. I just discovered how difficult it is! Fortunately I have a copy in German which so far I have been able to read. I read a couple page at a time - German version first. Then I hope something sinks in.
      I have Moby Dick in English and I think the Italian bookshop has a copy. So I might get Melville's book next.
      Ciao, g

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    6. Moby Dick is also a difficult book in English although I dare say you have read it before. I read it recently and found it quite hard going.

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    7. I had a hunger to read it again, so I must now get the Italian version if it's still available in the shop and devour both.

      "Give me a condor's quill! Give me Vesuvius crater for an ink stand!"


      There was an age to be alive in.

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  4. Since retiring from a Senior position in a large Comprehensive School in an inner city over thirty years ago Gwil, I have given a lot of thought to the sort of thing you are writing about here and I agree with you totally. I have written a similar blog today prompted by an article in today's Guardian.

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    1. Thank you Pat, I will get round to your blog when I get home. I'm just having a beer and a wedge of plum crumble in a semi-secret location.

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  5. Italian Focus is my favourite way to learn Italian - so many interesting articles and at just the right level to challenge my knowledge of the language

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    1. I look at Focus as and when I can. I also have the Duolingo Free App which fits into my daily schedule. Obviously it has adverts. Nothing is for nothing. But the adverts for shooting games suddenly disappeared after the Florida school tragedy. Maybe somebody Duolingo has a sense of responsibility. Let's hope so.

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