If Teachers Can’t Connect to Themselves, They Won’t Connect With Students!By Howard Seeman, Ph.D.
“The magic in the classroom wasn’t the curriculum, or the manipulatives, or the computer and slide shows, it was the teacher and how that teacher made what we were learning come to life, to mean something to us, to connect with us….Yet due to the No Child Left Behind Act [now: Race to the Top] focusing on reading and math, mandated testing and accountability factors have led to narrowing of the curriculum…take[s] the human factor out of instructional development and teaching.”
If you do not agree with Karl Marx’s economics, that is fine; but still, he was often insightful about human nature. He points out in his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts that worker alienation results from loss of control, specifically, the control over one’s labor. Also, the famous psychologist-therapist, Carl Rogers, is famous for his contribution that: being congruent [saying what you really feel] always makes any helping relationship more impactful.
Teachers cannot be themselves, say or be what they really feel, use their hearts in their lesson deliveries due to all this pressure about testing. Brickman: “…narrowing of the curriculum thwart[s] teacher personal and professional identity, creativity….” With the pressures of standardized testing, teachers have little room to put themselves, their hearts, into their teaching, into their students. The most powerful tool in the classroom is the teacher’s personality, not, e.g., the computer.
The teacher who cannot connect to his/her self, will not connect with his or her students! Students open and swallow learning better if they feel the caring-teacher/person relationship. When there is too much Standardized Testing, students may not even open their mouths for the “food”, or only swallow it fast to look good, but never really digest it, or even spit it out, once out of school; or worse, hate learning!
[See also Prof. Seeman’s article: “The Side Effects of Standardized Testing” at: http://gazette.teachers.net/gazette/wordpress/howard-seeman/the-side-effects-of-standardized-testing/ ]
Howard Seeman, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, C.U.N.Y.