Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Certificates vs Experience... Who wins?

Should anyone win??
I have been arguing with a colleague today all day long about this...

First of all I have to say that I am not actually against anyone. Everybody tries to do their best and find a job in the field of their interest...
I am not against University studies, post graduate studies...
I am not against CELTA, DELTA Holders, I am not against Greek επάρκεια (the fact that you get state permission to teach when you pass a C2 level exam)
I am not against you people!

I have a University degree myself (I have studied German  lit and language at the Aristoteles University in Thessaloniki, I am a CELTA and TKT holder myself and I have also studied comparative linguistics as an exchange student and I have C2 level certificates myself...)

When I graduated from University, I really knew nothing though...
I mean you study all these theories, but you don't actually get to practise in the actual classroom, I mean really practise, not spend a week in an artificial classroom environment pretending to teach.

When you actually go to work at a real school you face a lot of difficulties that you don't learn at school.
Sometimes books don't help....
Classroom management for example is not a theory.... Yes there are a lot of books talking about it, but every child is different and you have to adapt yourself to every single teaching environment.
Dealing with your boss is also something you have to face on your own. No book teaches you about that.
Dealing with learning difficulties, yes you have to study further, to learn from both books and experience.

Yes, I am in favor of experience...  I don't like theories. Diplomas and degrees mean nothing to me.
I am not against new colleagues. A lot of young people have potential to be the best and I help anyway I can and I think I have proven that during the years.

What I don't accept, though, is when someone comes to me "knowing" everything just because they have read some books!!! When somebody has an "opinion" without actually being in a classroom first. When somebody has a diploma and thinks that this is what counts.
I am sorry but this is not what counts....
Love and passion for your profession counts.
Learning to actually listen what the other says counts.
Not judging people because they are different counts.
Trying to have empathy counts.
Accepting advice counts.

I have to say that I am not an expert.... I have a way of teaching, it's my way, I don't try to impose it to anyone... Some agree some disagree.... That goes for me too, I agree with some people and I disagree with some others. There is no right or wrong ... This is not a competition...
What do you think?


Marisa Constantinides said...

Dear Theodora,

It was rather sad to read your statement - 'against theories' - which suggests that academic research and work mean nothing in our quest to learn how learning works.

So you believe that passion and experience are sufficient - admirable, but not nearly enough. Passion without knowledge and experience without technical know-how account for so much poor quality teaching, it just hurts to think about it!

Ten years of passionate uninformed experience count as one year of uninformed passion ten times over.

So, well-trained, well-informed inexperienced teachers can go take a hike - until they magically acquire experience in which case they become great teachers?

What exactly is the point of this blog post?

And why do you have to state you are not against anyone?

I'm sorry, I just don't get it.

That's what I think


Theodora Pap said...

I never said I am against theories and studies. I just said that studies are not enough. I mean we have all been beginners with degrees and this didn't mean we knew everything when we begun teaching. But when some people pretend they know everything just because they have a diploma, then it makes me angry. That's the point of the post, as an answer.

Marisa Constantinides said...

I think these are just people with bad attitudes, Theodora... know-alls haunt every profession and teaching has its fair share of them :-)

You did make the statement "in favor of experience.... I don't like theories" ... which is what I quoted from your post.

I am sorry if my comment upset you and would be happy if you decided to remove it.


Not a good idea to comment! :-)

Theodora Pap said...

No don't worry about it! I will leave it!! Thank you for taking the time to answer!

Anonymous said...

Theodora theory is indeed necessary . The problem is it means little if it is not tried in practice. Passion will certainly bring the teacher closer to the student but then again 'uninformed' passion can actually misguide somebody. Let me put it differently. At 26 I was absolutely certain I was a great teacher. At 50 over I am a little less passionate but thirsty for knowledge that will make me relevant . I always question my tactics . I pick and chose from the emerging theories. Whether it is communicative approach or task based or the structural or natural one I feel there is good stuff in them but not quite if they are seen in isolation. Marisa is so much more involved in educational trends with lots of theoretical know how. It is just that this know how has to be adapted to the particular class or student. Nothing is static. And yes beware of the globe trotting professionals lecturing the world over after such long absence from class.