I first started blogging five years ago when I moved abroad. I had been teaching in a primary school in England and periodically writing book reviews for the TES, and once abroad thought I would combine my interest in teaching and mobile technology, creating a blog devoted to both.
So far so good. I reviewed a few educational apps, gave my thoughts on what makes a good app for teaching and learning. Then I dried up… I realised that, as my teaching practice improved, I had become both less dependent and less enamoured of technology. Don’t get me wrong, I use smartboards, class blogs, tablets, the whole shebang, but I don’t think that these trinkets are central to best practice.
Crucially, in my little corner of the blogosphere, I didn’t want only to bleat on about the latest apps. I’d like to range a little wider than just talking about technology. So, with whatonomy, I’d like to review books related to teaching and learning; to sound off about whichever minister has been thrown the education portfolio; to reflect on what works and doesn’t work in the classroom (or in the student’s mind, which is perhaps more to the point).
I have called the blog ‘whatonomy’ as a little sideswipe at all those corporately memorable umbrella terms that we, as teachers, are supposed to drop into polite conversation during inset. As Stephen Heppell has said, schools were designed around the routines of the harvest and have solidified into institutions more reflective of industrialisation. Using corporate speak to prettify and make memorable the latest marketable ‘edufad’ only serves to hide the fact that education is reaching a point where it needs to adapt more fundamentally in order to address the needs of a society that has changed more quickly and radically than many of the institutions that support it.
I want my commentary on pedagogy to test theory and practice against the following principles:
1) Are we humanising?
2) Are we enthusing?
3) Are we providing the knowledge? (and the mechanisms to challenge and reformulate that knowledge)
4) Are we providing the results that society craves (and stakeholders deserve), but in such a way that the results do not diminish our humanity and our desire to foster an enthusiasm for the acquisition of knowledge and skills?
Disclaimer: this blog reflects my personal views, and is not intended to be solely representative of the educational institution that I serve.