Friday, May 18, 2007
Out of the comfort zone, into the learning zone?
I’m just back from the second part of my Feuerstein training and I'm starting to reflect a bit on my experience. This time round we were introduced to three other ‘instruments’ for teaching thinking skills to pupils.
My overall experience of the course was very positive. I enjoyed learning about something new, and thinking about how I was actually doing that. I also realised just how faulty some of my own thought processes were. I wouldn’t have called myself a woolly thinker, but I rely heavily on what I would have called ‘common sense’. I call it ‘common sense’ –but don’t push me to define it because I probably would get into one of those ‘you know what I mean… it’s sort of like…’ conversations which Miki Gorodischer (our Israeli Feuerstein trainer) said was our attempt at making the other person do the thinking work.
If I was to sum up my experience on the course in one word I would say that it was challenging. And this challenge was presented on several different levels. The first was in the sheer effort of encountering and interpreting a lot of new terminology regarding the cognitive processes. The next challenge was sustaining attention in a classroom for what seemed like lengthy periods of time. I like to think I’ve got more stamina than my TV watching pupils – but my brain started complaining long before the end of most of the sessions.
The final challenge was in the teaching style of our trainer. Miki is wonderful and brought a cultural diversity to the course which added an extra layer of interest and drama to the sessions. For me, however, some of the aspects of her teaching style were just a little too challenging! I found myself spending more and more time thinking about how she was presenting the material and not the material itself. But hang on, isn’t this one of the main goals of the Feuerstein training? The course aims to be ‘content free’ and transferable. In other words, the methodology, not the subject is intended to be the main focus of the training.
Miki’s style of mediating seemed at times confrontational but it did make us think, and question and try to step up to the mark. I certainly mean to use some of her techniques in my classroom to provoke some deeper debate.
Please comment – especially if you have been on the course!