Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Teaching or Preaching?: Fe Comment

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Teaching or Preaching?: Fe Comment

Article excerpt

I have sometimes cast myself in the role of Winston Churchill. I don't mean old, fat and bald. Rather, it was his oratorical powers that I aspired to imitate. My students were all ranged before me on their first day at college and there I was telling them that they were embarking on a life-changing experience. I didn't promise them blood, sweat and tears - just a whole new way of looking at the world.

Little did I know as I employed my ersatz rhetoric that I was engaging in Transformational Teaching. The concept has been around for years, but it has only recently impinged upon me.

It was at one of those Inset days that all teachers find themselves subjected to. You know the sort of thing, where someone with a PowerPoint gets paid a grand to tell you the bleedin' obvious. This time the topic was "Transformational Teaching (capital T, capital T) in Further Education".

It's a bold and ambitious project, this TT. Indeed, one of the first things we were told was: "In a transformational classroom, tutors are expected to be charismatic." That's not surprising, given that your aim is not just the transfer of knowledge, but the transformation of everyone in your charge.

In particular you must change what Mezirow - one of the gurus of the TT movement - calls the student "frame of reference". Old habits of mind must be challenged and assumptions and beliefs examined critically, thus leading the individual to become more open and willing to change.

In actual fact, none of this is very new. …

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