登录  
 加关注
查看详情
   显示下一条  |  关闭
温馨提示!由于新浪微博认证机制调整,您的新浪微博帐号绑定已过期,请重新绑定!立即重新绑定新浪微博》  |  关闭

我的地盘我做主

悦民园

 
 
 

日志

 
 

As a Voluntary Services Overseas volunteer, how can I improve the quality of my educational development-work as a Methodology teacher with Grade Three students at Guyuan Teachers College in The People’s Republic of China?   

2009-06-13 17:27:31|  分类: 谈天说地 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

  下载LOFTER 我的照片书  |

 

 

As a Voluntary Services Overseas volunteer, how can I improve the quality of my educational development-work as a Methodology teacher with Grade Three students at Guyuan Teachers College in The People’s Republic of China?

by Dr. Moira Laidlaw. Draft, January 2002.

 

‘The best teacher stands back, and the students say: ‘It’s amazing! We’ve done it all by ourselves.’ The Tao Te Ching’, by Lao Tze.

 

Abstract:

This paper presents some of the processes of my current post-doctoral research. It looks at the ways in which I am trying to enhance the quality of my educational development-work as a VSO volunteer teaching Methodology to final year student-teachers. Through a detailed explanation for the reader of the contexts in which I am working, and the use of dialogical forms of communication with my students, I show how I enable my students to enter processes of enquiry about their future lives as teachers, and some of the effects this has on our learning. I also show how my educational value of responsibility is evolving through these processes, and reveal its relationship to my educational epistemology.

 

Foreword:

The aim of this paper is to present my current educational research as a member of the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) programme in a two-year contract as a teacher of methodology (teacher-training) and Oral English at a Teachers’ College in ‘one of the poorest areas of China’ (VSO information-pack, 2001). My contract runs from September 2001 – July 2003. In this paper I will represent the research from two intimately related standpoints – one as a VSO volunteer, and the other as an educational action researcher. For those of you reading this on a screen, the delineation of this connection is represented through the colouring of titles in the paper – black denoting general headings, green symbolising a section about my work with VSO, and blue highlighting specifically educational areas of my research.

 

It will be evident to the reader that I have not used many secondary sources for this paper. This is not particularly unusual for me in my papers, but there are specific reasons for it this time. First, I have few resources here, and no access at all to pedagogical books in English. In addition, because of the international weight-restrictions, I was barred from bringing any with me from England. Secondly, the nature of this research is so new to me, that I am at the stage of exploration rather than theory. This paper is not intended as a sophisticated example of my living educational theory, although I can vouch for its living qualities! I see this paper as the forerunner to the more epistemologically-focused work I am now in a position to do in the near future.

 

Introduction:

Before I left for China to work with VSO, I wrote a paper for my Action Research group at Bath about the developmental nature of my value of responsibility as I was trying to evolve it in the service of education. This is how the paper ended:

 

And now to China:

I perceive my decision to go on VSO to China as a natural outcome of my educational development, during which the value of responsibility has grown as I have grown, and helped me to put into perspective the value of a single life amongst the world entire. I am still galvanised by the words I heard from my VSO trainer, Cath in February 2001 at a training weekend: 'Be the changes that you want to see in the world!'

 

The trouble with text is that it presents a linear view of reality. Eisner’s presidential speech[1] at the 1993 AERA conference is still relevant now. He highlighted the problems associated with representing multi-dimensional realities merely through the written word. This paper is an attempt to go a little further, particularly because the purpose of it is itself about the development of aspects of human experience which are extremely difficult to get at. The nature of educational action research is necessarily open-ended, and this paper leaves you at the point when I am now committed to my future, without a firm sense at all about what I will be doing and what it will be like to do it. However, I realise that my developing value of responsibility enables me to contemplate my own future with a sense of purpose and resolve, a sense that there is so much to learn and experience and do. My future seems more bound to myself and others than ever before, and I feel this process will continue. Below is a scene from Ningxia, the Province where I am… now teaching.


I love this picture. I had never seen such scenes before I came to China, and now, everyday, I see things like this. What do I see? I see a parent (I think it’s more likely to be a mother, but it could easily be a father, given the way in which fathers also take a great deal of primary care of their children in Guyuan). She is carrying a child and an older child holds her hand and looks back at the camera. I have not seen many people with cameras here, although a VSO colleague, Lewis, teaching in Wenshan, believes that these days quite a few people in China have them. It may be, however, that the photographer is from the richer part of China – in the general area of the North East – or is a foreigner like me, wanting to capture, perhaps, something of the flavour of being in Ningxia Province. Whatever the motives of the photographer, as far as I am concerned, this picture brings to light something typical about this area. I see the different kinds of accommodation, on the left - almost shacks, small, old and probably cold in winter, on the right - houses showing signs of the development, which the Chinese government is so keen to foster in this poorer north-west. I also notice the clothes the people are wearing, the bright colours, the home-made jumpers and woollens to ward off the bitter winters, the leggings which are a staple diet of good dress-sense here, and the absence on me, the cause of much interest and consternation amongst some Guyuan citizens that I will catch cold. They’re probably right. I have had four colds in four months so far!

 

There is also a rurality about the picture that still touches me in its simplicity. I can’t quite explain why it brings tears to my eyes: perhaps it captures something of the bonds between parent and child and between people and their environment, connections which seem to me in my short time here, at times to be closer and more intimate than those I am used to in the West. There is also something so typical about the child’s curiosity about difference (which I what I am inferring she sees in the photographer), and also what I have seen as a Chinese curiosity about things or people who do not appear to be the same as them. Even after four months here, wherever I go, I am the object of intense scrutiny, which is not one of my favourite things about being in China. However, I know that the apparent close bonds constitute a compelling motivation to stay here, despite my difficulties with culture shock, constant illness, and missing family and friends. It is possible that the deep familiarity I recognise in this picture may be to do with the possibilities of connection between people which go beyond language and culture, gender and racial differences. It is those things I realise I am exploring in China, and which give me the sense of purpose and structure to my work and life in this country. It strikes me as a necessary development of my value of responsibility, that I take this path open to me and explore it as fully as I can. I really do wish to be the changes I want to see in the world.

 

In my previous paper I came to the conclusion that if I were to develop my value of responsibility, I needed to perceive and act on a wider sense of what it means to work in a social and political context. I have always focused on the individual in my research, sometimes as if s/he is without context, as a unique consciousness centred upon itself. My last two papers for the Action Research group at Bath reveal the development of my understanding of the dialectic between individuals, between individuals and groups, and with the wider society. Now I feel I have come somewhere in which relationships between society and individuals are very different to those in England. In the West, or the so-called developed countries (which I will subsequently refer to as ‘the North’, as this is the term which VSO uses to describe the richer countries, with ‘the South’ constituting countries as a rule less materialistically wealthy), the individual is perceived, largely speaking, to be of interest in and for her/himself. This is not necessarily the case in China. Here, it appears to me, individuals are taught very clearly where they stand in relation to their country’s future. In my scant experience they seem to have little of the North’s sense of right to a private wish or dream for their own lives. This, of course, is a generalisation, but like many generalisations, it may hold some illuminating truths.

 

To sum up so far – China is not like England! Its people are taught their position in the scheme of things from an early age, through the family, through education and through the government. Conformity is perceived as rectitude. I offer those comments without pejorative judgement, because I don’t yet, and may never, understand the full significance of them. The people I have spoken to have often moved me with their sincere wish to serve their country. It is easy, I believe, for us in the North to scoff at this and call it jingoism, patriotism, and ‘we all know where that leads, don’t we?’ Well, maybe in the North we do, but this is not the North. I will be taking up this theme again later in the paper as I explore connections between my values and those of my students.

 

My relationship with VSO:

When I first decided to do voluntary service overseas with VSO, I had only a very nebulous sense of what the organisation represented. I felt somewhat disillusioned by the English education system, as I outlined in my last paper, but did not want a negative dialectic to fuel my actions in education. After attending the VSO assessment day in December 2000 (which was so rigorous I was convinced I had failed it) and various training weekends in February and July of 2001, I realised that I was working with an organisation whose values were very similar to my own. I sensed a desire to empower individuals and groups, a genuine respect for others, a willingness to go with the spirit of something rather than to insist on its formal structure, and a fierce sense of responsibility for learning. In addition, VSO is clearly committed to making the world a better place, by which I mean offering opportunities for disadvantaged people and groups to become self-sustaining and self-respecting.

 

Let me give you an example of this. In November 2001, the 20th annual conference for English Language Teaching in China, sponsored and run by VSO, was held in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu, a poor province east of Guyuan. About 20 VSO volunteers were able to attend, of which I was one, and were asked to bring with them one Chinese colleague from their college. The facilitators ran a three-day workshop inspired by their visits to Middle Schools in the province prior to the conference. Chinese and foreign colleagues worked side-by-side to come up with solutions to some of the educational problems facing teachers of English in Chinese classrooms. Each pair was then encouraged to give feedback at their own colleges, which my colleague, Sun Weiming and I did one evening with the whole of the English department. I have already since then tried out some of the ideas for myself and seen some of the new ideas being tried out in some of my colleagues’ classrooms.


[1] Eisner, E., (1993), ‘Forms of Representation and the Future of Educational Research’, Presidential speech at the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, April.

  评论这张
 
阅读(885)| 评论(0)

历史上的今天

在LOFTER的更多文章

评论

<#--最新日志,群博日志--> <#--推荐日志--> <#--引用记录--> <#--博主推荐--> <#--随机阅读--> <#--首页推荐--> <#--历史上的今天--> <#--被推荐日志--> <#--上一篇,下一篇--> <#-- 热度 --> <#-- 网易新闻广告 --> <#--右边模块结构--> <#--评论模块结构--> <#--引用模块结构--> <#--博主发起的投票-->
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

页脚

网易公司版权所有 ©1997-2018