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Developing Interactive Teaching Styles using an IWB


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Like you I am passionate about education and about trying to make a difference. Throughout the trip to Toulouse and my threads I have sought to find common ground. United we stand, divided we fall against the forces of mediocrity.

However, you are not the only person who has been let down by the education system during their life. I suffered at the hands of the 1970s ideologues who through their well meaning policies sacrificed the education of a generation of students. Surely, the lesson that we can learn from that period of history is that no matter how good an idea we may think we have, you should never pursue it exclusively to the detriment of all other ideas in a fanatical attempt to impose your own view on education. There is a lot to be gained through diversity and variety in the classroom. Not all kids are the same, nor are all teachers!

The struggle is not against medocrity it is against the system that destroys students' belief in education. Nor is it about the introduction of ICT. That in itself does nothing to change the situation that most students find themselves in.

The primary objective of schooling in a capitalist system concerns academic assessment. Schools are places where students are involved in contests that will decide whether they will in future have access to positions of status and authority. It is argued that these contests are a reflection of our “meritocratic” society. Schooling has therefore been seen as a vital ingredient of a democratic society. As one of the early pioneers in intelligence testing argued: “The argument for democracy is not that it gives power to men without distinction but that it gives greater freedom for ability and character to attain power” (E. Thorndike, Intelligence and its Uses).

The problem is that schooling is not the primary factor in determining who gets the jobs with status and authority. Other factors, especially the social class of the student, play major roles in determining academic success. As the most significant supporter of the scientific intelligence test pointed out: “We have to face it: the assortment of persons into occupational roles simply is not fair in any absolute sense. The best we can hope for is that true merit, given equality of opportunity, acts on that basis for the natural assorting process.” (A. Jenson, How Can We Boast IQ and Scholastic Achievement)

Politicians spend a lot of time talking about how educational reforms will deliver “equality of opportunity”. However, so far, all their reforms, including the introduction of comprehensive education, have failed to achieve this. In fact, recent research shows that the link between social class and academic achievement is stronger than it has been for many years.

Comprehensive education has made the situation worse. As Frank Parkin has argued: “When children of all levels of ability are educated together it is more difficult to prepare future recruits to menial positions for the fate awaiting them. The ideology of such a system is one designed to heighten aspirations and to inculcate the values of achievement.” (Frank Parkin, Class Inequality and Political Order)

Comprehensive education, based upon a belief in 'equal opportunities' and dominated by an academic ethos, is in many ways a better preparation for 'menial positions' as it reinforces the idea that people fail due to their own deficiencies. The message that is conveyed is that because people are "intelligent they find themselves in privileged positions" rather than "due to their privilege position people are intelligent".

The defining of intelligence is of prime importance as it is in this way we exclude people from desirable occupations. Pupils usually eventually accept the definition supplied by the school as they see the "enforcers of reality" as being experts. This has political repercussions, as Ian Hextal and Madan Sarup have pointed out: “It (evaluation)is about hierarchy and who has the power to denote one person or product as superior to another. It is about knowing and who has the right to know. It reflects the structure of our society and the forms of social relationship within it. In all these ways it is intensely political and we need to consider it in this recognition. (Ian Hextal and Madan Sarup, School Knowledge, Evaluation and Alienation)

School is an institution that trains young people to accept the definitions of those in authority. Although it is not always in their own interests to accept these definitions, the pupils find it difficult to challenge them in a positive and direct way. Some pupils receive feedback that is contradictory and therefore can select from this information, but for those who are labeled unanimously by teachers 'unintelligent' and 'failures', the task is daunting. These labels often encourage pupils to stop trying to obtain qualifications needed for jobs with high status. 'Intelligence' is such a vague concept that it is unlikely that a young person will have the confidence needed to challenge the school's valuation of his abilities.

A comprehensive school with streaming, exams, grading, class positions etc, will develop the aspirations of a minority but at the same time it will gradually lower the expectations and self-esteem of the majority. For the latter, this contributes towards preparing them to accept low-status jobs. Instead of taking violent action against a system that is working against them they eventually accept it because they believe they are inferior. In the words of Clarence J. Karier "If a man truly believes that he has a marginal standard of living because he is inferior, he is less likely to take violent measures against that social system than if he believes his condition a product of social privilege." (Clarence J. Karier, Liberalism and the Quest for Orderly Change)

School can be a pleasant place to be when it informs you that you have a good chance of reaching a place in the upper levels of the occupational hierarchy. However, for those who are told, either directly or indirectly, that they are destined, in the first instance, at least, for a low status poorly paid job, that will supply few intrinsic rewards, school becomes a less attractive place to be. For these pupils, school can still provide experiences that they value (sport, social relationships, 'having a laugh') but these aspects of school that they associate with 'determining their place in the hierarchy' often creates hostility. Of course, they can continue to work hard in an effort to join the high achievers, but they are aware that success is relative and that a hierarchical society has more people at the bottom than the top. This fatalistic attitude is especially noticeable from pupils who come from a working class background.

As pupils do not tend to enjoy their academic work, the ability to defer gratification is of primary importance. This is one of the main reasons why working class pupils find themselves at such a disadvantage. While the 'pyramidal configuration' of economic and social power continues, working class students will struggle to obtain occupations with high status in our society.

Although education has been portrayed as the main way that working class pupils can achieve social mobility, it can also be interpreted as a 'strategy of closure'. (Frank Parkin, The Social Analysis of Class Structure) Recent sociological research indicates that the working class rely much more on their occupational performances than on their educational achievements to obtain upward social mobility.

The educational system plays a prominent role in social and cultural reproduction. It not only has the power to define 'intelligence' but in doing so, can specify the behaviour required to be a 'successful' candidate. The so called 'meritocratic' society not only creates the means of social mobility, it also sets into motion the means to control it. The needs of the economy are therefore reflected in the changes that have taken place in the educational system.

As Aristotle once said: “When quarrels and complaints arise, it is when people who are equal have not got equal shares.” This political reality helps us understand what goes on in schools. Inequality in the distribution of rewards is a potential source of great conflict. The use of measurement in schools helps to legitimize these inequalities and in doing so, protects the political order from instability.

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A very interesting post John, if slightly away from the original thread ;)

You seem to be arguing that there is no biological differences in children's ability to learn, and secondly that

the only thing influencing their intelligence/success is social class. Schools in your post serve only to oppress and indoctrinate. Should we all just pack it in and man the barricades?

S

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You seem to be arguing that there is no biological differences in children's ability to learn, and secondly that

the only thing influencing their intelligence/success is social class.

I did not say social class is the only factor. I said it was the most important factor. Do you disagree with that point?

Schools in your post serve only to oppress and indoctrinate. Should we all just pack it in and man the barricades?

I have no faith in some violent revolution. If that happened we would only replace one ruling elite with another ruling elite, as happened in Russia, China, etc.

I suggest that people do what I have been doing for the last 30 years. It is a two pronged strategy. Use every opportunity to point out the contradictions in the thinking of those in power. Use whatever power you have at your disposal to change the education system from within.

As I said on another thread: Schools should If be about producing well-informed, active citizens. If that was our true objective, schools would become very different places.

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As I said on another thread: Schools should If be about producing well-informed, active citizens. If that was our true objective, schools would become very different places.

Agreed. Such schools would surely be stripped of hierarchy, measurement, comparison, sets, streams, rules, league tables and examinations. I would also suggest, getting back to the topic in question, that there would be no need for IWBs within them - students would be active not passive learners.

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Agreed. Such schools would surely be stripped of hierarchy, measurement, comparison, sets, streams, rules, league tables and examinations. I would also suggest, getting back to the topic in question, that there would be no need for IWBs within them - students would be active not passive learners.

Hi Andy,

So how do you hook and engage the disengaged working class children from deprived areas like South Yorkshire so that they become active rather than passive learners?

How do you teach them the higher order thinking skills so that they can research and become the active learners that you've described? I walk the talk every day, I find IWBs useful but they are not the only tool that I use in my classroom.

The purpose of this thread is to discuss the ways that teachers can use IWBs practically on a to day basis and to try and win their hearst and minds to encourage them to experiment with different learning styles. We can't all run before we can walk! How do you use your IWB?

Roy

Edited by Roy Huggins
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Agreed. Such schools would surely be stripped of hierarchy, measurement, comparison, sets, streams, rules, league tables and examinations. I would also suggest, getting back to the topic in question, that there would be no need for IWBs within them - students would be active not passive learners.

So how do you hook and engage the disengaged working class children from deprived areas like South Yorkshire so that they become active rather than passive learners?

I think the first question you need to ask is what is it that the school does to cause/exacerbate disengagement? I would wager a considerable sum that the answer will have a great deal to do with negative labelling, setting, didactic and coercive teaching styles, lack of participation in decision making or their own learning, powerlessness, the open invitation to join a competition they know they can't win, incomprehensively petty rules, punishments involving curtailment of freedom when rules are broken, the breaking up of the curriculum into boring disconnected tasks, and hidden curriculum messages affirming the 'qualities' of obedience to authority, knowing one's place, and docility in the workplace.

It is a wonder that more working class kids don't reject this oppressive nonsense wholesale.

Children like all of us engage when they are ready to engage. Present structures and priorities militate against such engagement taking place.

In order for this engagement to happen we need to rethink what our educational priorities should be and how we structure and manage the schools and the learning of the future to meet these priorities.

I fear that the teacher at the front of the class with a visual aid 'delivering the learning' is part of the problem not the solution.

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Admitting from the outset that I seem to be part of the problem, I have had really enjoyed having an IWB in my room the past two years.

I am a committed teach from the front of the room type of teacher. I am committed to getting material in front of students and asking them to make something out of it at home, in papers, in essays, and in class.

I am very skeptical of group learning in the classroom setting. What I see are students who make someone in the group do most of the work and expect an easier evaluation as a result of a group project. I wish this wasn’t the case, but I haven't seen much evidence to the contrary.

I am excited about the development of flash technology. I am glad to see a proliferation of PowerPoint material on the internet and I am happy that there are so many functions that can be worked into PowerPoint.

I have had growing success with a site called united streaming that hopefully is continuing to add content. My IWB is allowing me to phase out my television and have my maps removed from class.

As my school moves to all tablets I expect an IWB or just a projector system to be a central hub from which to take input from all students more often. But it will still be the information at the front of my classroom.

I believe that the power of learning is in the students much more than it is in the school, the administration, or the teacher. I think if we give our children high expectations about their education and their work ethic they will be better people for it.

Blaming the education system for the class structure of our society makes little sense to me. Especially today were educational information abounds.

I am glad to see on this site that there are people passionate about education. These different ideas could each be the center of successful schools and these different types of schools should exist. But I don't see the value in only appreciating one teaching style over another. Age of students and discipline of learning require variety.

IWB is a tool that can be used very effectively. I have really enjoyed turning over part of my week to presentations created by my students. They are 16-18 years old. They mostly use power point as a visual aid, but they have done some wonderful things in finding images, web pages and other different wrinkles. Some have very effectively used posterboards.

With the IWB I can follow a student question with a web search. I can stop when I sense a dead period and click in a ten minute video clip from united streaming. This is what interactive has meant for me. I remain committed to controlling the classroom from the front and having information get presented to students. I expect them to take that and build on it. I am pleased when a period is entertaining and productive. But I always emphasize the productive side.

I want my students to leave my class more able to enter the world and be able to handle daily responsibilities. I hope that they also get a love of history in the process. But if they don't engage the material they get poor grades and that is not because of the class they come from.

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  • 2 months later...

NAACE, the association of ICT in education, has recently been attacking the use of interactive whiteboards in the classroom. Terry Freeman, NAACE’s vice-chairman has claimed that too many teachers are too reliant on so-called “interactive software”.

Dr. Roger Higton, ICT co-ordinator at Lord William’s School in Thame has pointed out: “Students can go from lesson to lesson and be faced with a series of one-way didactic presentations. The teacher may feel very pleased and think they are up-to-date and modern – but the student will glaze over within the first 30 sections. Students find this passive absorption of knowledge no more educationally creative than copying out of a textbook.”

It has been pointed out by Professor Edward Tufte of Yale University that too many lessons now resemble corporate board-meetings. He claims that the software’s emphasis on bullet points meant that “rather than learning to write a report using sentences, children are being taught how to formulate client pitches and infomercials.”

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NAACE, the association of ICT in education, has recently been attacking the use of interactive whiteboards in the classroom. Terry Freeman, NAACE’s vice-chairman has claimed that too many teachers are too reliant on so-called “interactive software”.

Dr. Roger Higton, ICT co-ordinator at Lord William’s School in Thame has pointed out: “Students can go from lesson to lesson and be faced with a series of one-way didactic presentations. The teacher may feel very pleased and think they are up-to-date and modern – but the student will glaze over within the first 30 sections. Students find this passive absorption of knowledge no more educationally creative than copying out of a textbook.”

It has been pointed out by Professor Edward Tufte of Yale University that too many lessons now resemble corporate board-meetings. He claims that the software’s emphasis on bullet points meant that “rather than learning to write a report using sentences, children are being taught how to formulate client pitches and infomercials.”

That's very interesting - The full article can be found at the following url http://www.tes.co.uk/2276562 and should in my opinion stimulate a debate in every school

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  • 2 weeks later...

It has been pointed out by Professor Edward Tufte of Yale University that too many lessons now resemble corporate board-meetings. He claims that the software’s emphasis on bullet points meant that “rather than learning to write a report using sentences, children are being taught how to formulate client pitches and infomercials.”

That's very interesting - The full article can be found at the following url http://www.tes.co.uk/2276562 and should in my opinion stimulate a debate in every school

I've read the full article in TES. Yesterday we had a meeting with teachers: one PPT presentation took almost an hour with 90 slides. I myself felt almost ashamed when I had to do my presentation using PPT. (but fortunately I got help from 3 students explaining the merits of the interview program live!)

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  • 5 weeks later...
For these reasons I do hope Roy doesn't really take his ball back to the history forum because whilst things may seem more comfortable there little of any substance or depth is ever discussed.
- Andy

Firstly, there is nothing to stop anyone being a member of both forums; secondly, there is a great deal of lively discussion "over there" on all sorts of practical issues that many teachers find very useful.

I am sorry you are unwilling to engage in intellectual debate. It might be more comforting to post on the History Forum where you will not be challenged because its members have to accept the dominant ideology imposed by the administrators.
- John

As an administrator of aforementioned forum myself, I have to point out that the only "ideology" which is imposed is the ideology of common courtesy (if such a thing can exist...). Hence, you won't find any negative references to this forum being made over there.

It is not exactly conducive to the team spirit of EHelp for either of you to be making sweeping insults about the the other forum when you are well aware that one of its administrators is part of the EHelp team!

This post is simply a reply to what has been said so far, not an attempt to open up a can of worms, so I won't be saying any more on the matter if it can be helped.

See this thread to see that I am still banned from posting on the History Forum. It is probably not a coincidence that I was attempting to disagree with the opinions expressed by Russel.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=8253

http://www.schoolhistory.co.uk/forum/index...?showtopic=7492

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  • 1 year later...

I am revisiting this thread because have just received a research grant from the TDA to investigating the impact of IWBs on pedagogy in our consortium schools.

In the course of the project I intend to investigate and evaluate perceived "best practice" in consortium schools, investigate pupils perceptions of the impact of IWBs on their learning, and author some tool kits for trainee teachers based on my research.

This thread as it exists already provides a degree of context for the research. However if anyone could point me in the direction of existing research to further enhance this I'd be grateful.

Also if you're a teacher and you'd like to throw your two pennorth in here please do so :lol:

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I am revisiting this thread because have just received a research grant from the TDA to investigating the impact of IWBs on pedagogy in our consortium schools.

Congratulations. :cheers

Thanks - hopefully if E-Help does get resurrected I can use some of the findings in that project too.

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