Kataro Nariai, Carla Soudien, Colin Bragg and Miki Nishimura
This question - Who do you learn most from? - was put to students in different countries with some surprising results. Most students did not immediately think of teachers. This was unexpected because we might assume that learning is so closely associated with school that this would be the obvious response. It is all the more surprising in countries like Japan and the Czech Republic where students tend to evaluate their learning in relation to how much the teacher tells them. But, in fact, students defined their learning and sources of their learning in broader terms, thinking of family and friends and as driven by their own interests and motivation. What emerges as a singular strand throughout these inquiries is the intrinsic drivers of learning - you learn, in school or out, because you are interested.
The second half of this chapter which focuses on teachers specifically has strong resonances with much other research into what makes a good teacher (Rudduck, et al. 1996; MacBeath, 1999; Wragg, et al. 2000) although the question 'What teachers do you learn most from?' evokes a more pointed response than the more general question 'What kind of teachers do you like?'
Students in the six LS2 schools who were asked this question gave quite different responses. In all countries, except Japan, parents got by far the highest rating, nearly as high as teachers, comparing very sharply with all the other schools but most noticeably in comparison to Japan where no one chose teachers.
This does not mean that teachers are not seen as an important source - indeed, all the evidence from all classrooms shows how much good teachers are valued by their students. It does mean, though, that students' desire to learn is driven first and foremost by sources outside the school (see Figure 12.1).
In the four countries where parents were cited as the strongest influence we asked how strong that influence was. Judgements varied as Figures 12.2 to 12.5 show.
In the four countries in which friends were seen as a significant influence, the strength of that influence also differed from school to school (see Figures 12.6 to 12.8).