Thoughts on Papert’s “Children’s Machine”: Chapter 4

Papert address teachers in Chapter 4 and some of the stuff within it is a bit disturbing.  Towards the beginning of the chapter, he describes a chemistry teacher who designed a phenomenal lesson for his class and received high praise from the principal who sat in on the class only to be criticized for not writing a formal lesson plan.   During my undergrad work, I hated to write lesson plans because some of the things I wanted to do didn’t require creating a formal document.  It got to the point where it become a tedious exercise in my coursework.  I can see where it would be a good idea to do a unit lesson plan to map out what kind of activities you want for your instruction, but not for every single little lesson.  What does there have to be a bureaucratic process for every single little thing we do in our classroom?  Why can’t we just see a situation as a learning experience and give out praise and constructive criticisms when they are appropriate?

One interesting notion was brought up at the beginning of the chapter that sometimes the teacher is viewed in a negative aspect, but they are simply carrying the roles the School has placed on them.  Sometimes we have to participate in some things that we may disagree with, but due to the responsibilities of our position have no choice in the matter.  Students sometimes get frustrated with us (the teachers) when we must participate in a school-wide reform.  Despite the role we find ourselves in among the institution of School, we find ways to remain “human” and create a learning environment for students that gets away from the teacher simply being the “technician” of the School’s methodologies.

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