From: Eugene Matusov
Submit: Post Comments
Date: 10 Nov 1996
Remote Name: pax-ca13-17.ix.netcom.com
You wrote, "I tend to believe that connecting on an emotional level is equally as important as on an academic level. I would often rather talk to kids about their homelife than about algebra, because I think that oftentimes, it's more relevant. It seems however, that in traditional schools, the emphasis is on academics. In fact I think teachers are wary of connecting on a deeper level. I know my senior year in highschool, my female english teacher, who I became close friends with, felt like she couldn't give me a hug because there had been several cases of molestation occuring between teachers and students, so personal interaction of any sort was sort of frowned upon. So, I don't know. Maybe I would be happier in a counseling setting, rather than a teaching setting."
This is something I'm constantly thinking about my own teaching. I think that I have goals similar with yours. However, I think it is possible to combine both personal and subject matter together. I try to experiment in how to do that (you can see different levels of my success and failure in both classes I'm teaching). Of course, teaching algebra that way is very challenging but I think it is possible because otherwise algebra was not human endeavor.
You are right that traditional school does not help to do that but I just met this week a teacher from a Chicago school who showed videotapes of her doing that (she is teaching in urban school in a primarely Black low SES neighborhood). I wish you saw the videotape! However, she teaches literature.
What do you (and other people) think?