Sunday, March 5, 2017

This is just a wild guess, Chief, right off the top of my head (Maxwell Smart)

Past colleagues and students know my cultural markers (touchstones if you prefer) well. I am now teaching at Westmount's Kaipara campus, where the students are all from the Christian Brethren Church. 

Lately, it slowly dawned on me that the students and I don't share all of the same cultural markers.

Music, and the Beatles' ties I wear? Tick. Positive comments, of the 'I like your tie' variety!

Sport and the Arsenal jackets and ties I wear? Tick. Already there has been some good natured ribbing from the boys, in particular.

Star Wars quotes, the Jedi references? My Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions? TV references such as 'Good thinking 99'?

All have been met with a kind of quizzical expression and a polite smile.

One of my students looking at my Twitter profile said, "What is gee-day?"

The light bulb in my brain went from dim to bright at that point.

Although our students can watch films and videos in class (I saw a really old video showing Vietnam War footage in a history Video Conference recently), they don't watch TV at home. Nor do they go to the movies, and even if they did, cosmic space dramas like Star Wars wouldn't be on their radar.

During our recent educational conference (much more coming in the next few weeks), a call came from Frances Valintine to allow students to use their phones at school and from others about the value of YouTube and using the internet during exams.

These things, like my other cultural touchstones, are simple not possible in my new context.

So, as we pilot our way into the future, we will need to consider all of that along with what is possible, so that our students can embrace the many changes to learning that are coming, and keep their way of life intact.

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