Education Transformations received the following in an email from a teacher who found us online. We thought it was so interesting, we got permission to share it. We’d love to hear your perspective – do you agree, disagree, or how did this strike you?
I am Marco Franco, a fifty-nine year old high school teacher in Laredo, Texas, and I am planning to apply Carl Rogers’ Student Center Teaching, as well as his Humanistic Education theories, in my classroom throughout the Spring Semester, which begins [in January 2017].
For the past twelve years, I have been teaching English, ESL, Oral Interpretation, Practical Writing and mentoring college composition classes. Also, I made a brief stint facilitating leadership and team dynamics workshops at the local community college.
Nowadays the educational system is in crisis and rapidly deteriorating. When we learn about it in the newspaper or through the TV news, it just becomes another short-lived news clip to be buried again by tomorrow’s newest news. Witnessing the failure of the educational system day after day in the classroom, and going home knowing that we, teachers, cannot improve it becomes a daily frustration.
True teachers do teach despite all hindrances, while many others end up conforming to the state of affairs, resigning, or just teaching to the test. However, the elephant is in the room.
The gap between the academic curricula and the student population is widening every year. On one side we have the state education agencies enforcing End Of Course Tests (EOCs), assessing and ranking school districts according to their test performances, and complete school districts teaching to the test to get the coveted “Exemplary” status and more federal money.
On the other side, there is the student population emerging from dysfunctional families, where both parents work or one of them is absent, a devouring consumerist society that demands brand-name products, and the progressive technological advancements that absorb the teenagers’ time and configures their minds to the allurement of entertainment.
The inefficiency and low quality of our current educational system is very complex and has multiple variables; however, there are several desperate efforts to upgrade it. After the high rates of students failing the state exams, the state education agencies redesign tests, reformulate questions, or add/eliminate test items, while the schools create to-the-test-remedial-courses in a vain effort to attain better scores.
Though some organizations have suggested the adaptation and implementation of “emotional learning” strategies, the lack of parent involvement and support in their children’s indulgent academic performance, and the reinforcement of new teaching-to-the-test techniques keep the dynamics of the educational dysfunctionality in continuous regression.
The first time I read about Carl Rogers was in 1992, while I was at the Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM) in Mexico working on my master’s degree in Organizational Development. Later on, I read On Becoming a Person, Client-Centered Therapy: Its current practice, implications and theory, as well several articles about his work. Also, in 2009 and 2010, I got certified in Therapeutic and Pedagogical Psychodrama, and got involved in Augusto Boal’s theatre.
I want to share with you that starting next week, I will apply Rogers’ humanistic and student-centered-teaching in my communications class. I will document, analyze, implement, assess and adjust his principles in my classroom in an effort to meet my students’ communication/learning needs, as well as my need to initiate a journey to discover a more satisfying praxis in teaching.
What do you think? Comment below please.