The Sphinx With A Secret


Amazing profession, teaching; great profession too. Hiring for job positions would probably allude its energizing working environment, great opportunities for personal development, with challenging, diverse, and interactive tasks to handle; not ever a dull moment. And in smaller font: moderate till low salary offer, highly demanding and principled performance requirements, heavy administrative work load, poor support structure, and from time to time suddenly changing policy conditions. Amazing, one might say, that teaching remains attractive considering its job features; and great that applicants keep going for it. Is there a secret, a hidden treasure in teaching may be? It still needs to be discovered, despite the substantial amount of studies we have on the nature of the teaching profession and characteristics of being a teacher (1). From them we learn about the devoted character, the caring nature, the constraint position, and the hard work that constitutes the job. Still it is a bit of a mystery what makes teachers love their work, despite all that is researched, studied, or analyzed.

An example of such a closer look is a recent study in which teachers were examined on implementation of constructivist instructional strategies into their teaching. Such a study could reveal something about what moves teachers to go for an approach and why they adopt a method to work with in their classroom. The study was of a questionnaire type, with quite a lot of respondents (about 250). It is of interest to have a look at the method of the study first: administration was management approved, and teachers had to fill in the lengthy item list during their lunch break time. Almost all item scores varied little around the central scale mean (3.5); when items refered to their own work the scale mean rises to 4. (a question pops to mind: shouldn’t we abandon survey questionnaire all together?)(2).

Anyway; some findings stand out. Teachers approved the new instructional approach; they indicated they would like to try it; they already used parts of the approach in their teaching, and they like to learn more. One notable critical exception: according to teachers their local needs in curriculum change are hardly taken into consideration. Nothing new so far. What about the secret then. What stands out in the teachers’ responses is the high overall concern with their students’ learning. No matter what conditions, methods, or change it revolves to them all around a real concern for their students. The secret being: “what is good for my students, is good enough for me”. In that sense it is reassuring that we have questionnaires that speak the teacher’s voice.

Teachers’ perceptions of constructivist curriculum change as a predictor of their perceptions of the implementation of constructivist teaching–learning activities by Ali Yildirim & Koray Kasapoglu
Asia Pacific Education Review (2015) 16:565–577;
DOI 10.1007/s12564-015-9394-5, Copyright Springer, Crossmark






School- time





The Idea Behind This Blog
School-time can be a great time, at least it should be. I believe “sed scholea discimus” much more than life normally offers. School-time is there to bring a person the opportunity of cognitive and moral advancement, at least it should. School-time for life-time, would that be a delight or an horror? – that is the issue we are confronted with in school practice.
My quest is to bring together “ grounded” knowledge about thought-provoking moments and remarkable places where students and teachers interact to explore, discover, inquire, and build knowledge together with the intent to achieve higher levels of understanding (yes, teachers too).
Such knowledge is already widespread available (in journals, internet-sites, education studies, teacher records). It is just for the taking. But content needs a form. I will, therefore, take a didactical stance as the most suited way to bring forward lessons learned by others, and will frame them as “emblemata”
An emblemata is a didactical and moral (!) display of a “wisdom of practice”, consisted of a picture, a motto, and a subscription. The picture often represents the allegorical by referring to the outside world (context, if you like); the motto captures the lesson and wisdom entailed in the lesson learnt; and the ‘subscriptio’ contains the substance; in this case, the study conducted, the story told, the autobiography shared. Emblemata, once popular, are great formats in taking a perspective and disclosing multiple layers of interpretation.
It is my intent to collect interesting pieces of work available on the Internet dealing with “school-time” for everyone to absorb, review, reflect upon or just to be entertained.

The blog may be considered to be an emblemata itself: borrowing the motto from a poem by the narrative and highly didactic poet Wordsworth called “The Prelude”. The picture(s) signify the age old tradition of teaching and the scholarship that goes together with that profession which is contrasted on the opposite end with a picture signifying the eagerness and wonder on part of the pupils entrusted to a period of schooling and learning.