Behaviourism again

Have just read through the NRDC article on characteristics of a good lesson.
We were told in the past on training courses that it was impossible to define what a good lesson is and it was up to us to develop as practitioners and experiment. Now, apparently, we do know what a good lesson is. It includes things like use of a PC, differentiation, blah, blah, blah.

One thing that does get our goat is the requirement that we need to clearly spell out the aims and objectives for the class. Aims are for the teacher, objectives for the students. This is yet another sign of management-speak infiltrating teaching. It also another sign that we are no further away from Pavlov’s dog as we, the teacher, utlimately decide what is to be learnt. Not only does this smack of social control but it also requires a real leap of faith if we are to believe that any students learns better simply because we can tell them what they’ll learn. In response, it could be argued that the students can’t decide for themselves what they need because they are a) not sophisticated or b) not intelligent enough. Racist hogwash. Our raison d’etre is to give students what they feel they want and if they don’t know or are too vague then it is the teacher’s role to help them find what they want. Tutorials are a great place to start. They don’t need to say they want the 3rd conditional or anaphoric referencing; rather, they just have to articulate that they want to speak with a doctor without relying on their son or telephone the College and ask for course info. You don’t need a huge degree of language to achieve this. And from this starting point, it will trigger further discovery of language or other needs.

There’s no proof that students learn more effectively with learning outcomes/target/objectives. In fact, there is no evidence to suggest that any of the good characteristics outlined by the NRDC are any better than any others. This is (hopefully) just another fad and will pass but while it hangs around it is the students who suffer most. If, however, this is a sign of worse to come then Pavlov has been victorious.

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