Another brick in the (classroom) wall?

Pink Floyd - The Wall

I started my career in the late 1980’s as a Media Studies teacher in Queensland.

One of the Year 12 assessment tasks back then involved students producing a documentary about their school. In doing so, students were required to use different film techniques to create a biased interpretation of their school. They had to choose one of the following scenarios:

  • Scenario 1 – portray the school as a holiday camp, or,
  • Scenario 2 – portray the school as a prison.

Most students chose the ‘prison’ option. They produced a powerful montage of images – camera shots of classroom taken through bars and fences to portray imprisonment, low angles of teachers to make them appear menacing, images showing rows of desks inhabited by bored students, edited interviews of students lamenting about their existence at school.

And most students chose Pink Floyd’s 1980’s hit Another Brick in the Wall as the music soundtrack. By the end of this task, I was well and truly over the students in the song chanting ‘we don’t need an education‘!

What fascinated me most was the reason why students chose the prison option. So one day I ask them why.

They said that they enrolled in the Media Studies course because:

  • They wanted to learn in ways other than the ‘pen and paper’ learning that occurred in traditional subjects
  • They were not tied to rows of desks (as portrayed in the documentaries they produced).

What these students were really saying was ‘we do need an education‘ – but they want to learn in a ways that are different to traditional schooling.

In the 2012, we have more technological tools that appeal to how our students learn best.

What will your students say about learning in your class in 2012?

Will they be another brick in the wall?

Or will you break down the classroom walls?

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