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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Are we bound to teach resistant staff?

Written in response to a thread of conversation in class...

It is only when others are forced to get it for themselves that growth occurs. The administrator could indicate this passive aggression in the teacher's formal record and discuss it during the evaluation period. Most often, these long-time teachers perceive this as pressure to change or to force them out. Well, that is what happens to students on a daily basis.


Evelyn,

Your reaction to Lisa's post is very like my own. Perhaps I can take this comparison to what happens to students an additional step.

I felt when I read Lisa's post about the resistant 35 year teaching veteran, that we have a sort of duty to help him learn, not only for his students' sake, but for his. I realize this seems horribly presumptuous, but isn't that what we presume about our students on a daily basis... that we need to offer them challenges so that they might learn the things they need to know... that we are bound to find ways to motivate them and overcome their resistance to change?

In this age of the life long learner, does it make any sense to give up on someone because they are older? What would make this guy feel worse, helping him to adapt to new technologies - or writing him off? And even if the later is the answer in his case... then which is worse, regardless of what he feels? We certainly don't let our students off the hook because that makes them feel better.

Now, how do I reconcile this feeling that we are bound to teach these people (for their students' benefit if for nothing else) with my feeling (and first hand knowledge) that mandatory professional development (or mandatory technology use) is not effective?

Perhaps we simply need to model use of the technologies, communicate their usefulness to others, and find a way that technologies can enhance the lives of those we are dealing with (or at least find a way to help them see how their lives might be enhanced). If we can't convince them, perhaps they shouldn't use the new technology...

-Mark

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