#2 – detention time

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Here’s a very level & pertinent response by our resident, retired ex-Theology teacher, Father Mick, to my earlier post concerning the proliferation of tectnology in the classroom:

I am, as you know, now retired from my lifetime as a professional childbeater, but I do from time to time reflect on the changes in schools. I recall that when I started teaching the use of Audiovisual aids in the classroom was in its infancy and a well produced and thoughtful television documentary was a useful and welcome (to both pupil and teacher) change from the standard lesson. By the time I finished, I was known in my school for hardly ever using technology in my classroom. This was motivated partly by my complete ineptitude with equipment more complex than a piece of chalk, but even more by my perception that my teenage pupils spent a large part of their leisure time looking at small screens: they interact/sit passively in front of cinema screens, televisions, laptops, ipads, smart phones…, where previously teenagers engaged in human interaction: they bullied one another, played competitive games, indulged in sexual experimentation – in short prepared themselves for the world of work. In my classroom they were permitted only to interact through intelligent discussion with each other, and occasionally with me.

Modern social media certainly provides a much broader scope of communication with a wider variety of people, but it is measured by quantity not quality. The internet provides instant access to the whole spectrum of information, but it largely comes without the accompaniment of any context, reflection, analysis or wisdom such as might be obtained from a well written book or even a good teacher.

I noted sadly that bright, inquisitive teenagers from well to do homes stuffed with books and with graduate parents were increasingly unable to give me a good run in an argument. They increasingly saw no need to acquire factual knowledge or to formulate opinions as both were readily available from the little black box in their pockets.

Finally, I should note that much of the asocial behaviour promoted by cybercommunication is not the exclusive territory of the teenager – many ‘adults’ are far, far worse.

cheers: got to finish, have to check my email.