After three days of evaluating innovative teacher lessons that were created under Beata Staszynska’s and my supervision a constant can be seen: youngsters are glued to their smartphones and as a result try to avoid stressful situations at school.
One teacher devoted her lesson to finding out how much time her average students (14 year old) spent on their smartphone. The answer that appeared after detailed calculation with the class shocked her: six hours. When she asked what these kids would do without a smartphone she met a long stare, devoid of understanding. In the end she asked her students to write down their number one alternative for using their smartphone, anonymously. After the answers were collected it turned out that half of her students answered: “sleep”.
Many teachers complain that when they challenge their students these students resist. These students do not see why fate should decide with whom they work in a group for instance or why they should dance in the first place. And they don’t want to use colored cards to show whether they understand a lesson or not.
According to many teachers their students love routine because routine is safe. Routine does not expose them to potential criticism or ridicule. Routine does not force them into hard work. If students have a new task to do, many students seem to experience shame. These students then ask their teacher to do the new task first and then they imitate their teacher rather than find their own interpretation.
But, when teachers force a group into innovation, and the group grudgingly obliges, after a while students start to feel content with the new activity and at the end are happy with the fact that they did it.