Teaching children in a way that they would enjoy their studies is always a challenge. Every teacher has certain demand as for his/her class, as well as every student has his/her understanding of the teaching process. Quite often, the needs of the students and the possibilities of a teacher do not coincide and misunderstanding between these two parties arises. This problem is raised in the article under consideration. The main idea of the article is that there exists certain currency that is different for students and teachers. In case with teachers, this currency is presented by the methods that make the lesson interesting; in case with students, this currency is their attention during the class, abidance by the classroom rules, and academic achievements (Jackson, 2010). The task of the teacher is to meet halfway and to find common currency that both the teacher and the students could carry. I agree with the idea that common currency should be established in the classroom because this will increase students’ interest in class, facilitate the work of the teacher, and make the teacher’s efforts more rewarding.
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To begin with, common currency in the classroom will make the lesson and the subject in general more interesting to the students. A number of studies demonstrate that students who are interested in learning become more motivated and improve their overall academic performance (Muller & Louw, 2004). This is why the teacher should pay attention not only to making the subject of the lesson interesting to the students, but to creating an atmosphere in which the students would feel comfortable to learn. For instance, the article illustrates how Jason got surprised when he faced an unusual form of punishment and how eager he was to fix what he did wrong (Jackson, 2010). This shows that the teacher has found common currency and made the student interested in her class helping him to get rid of fear that he has ruined his school year because of the homework he failed to do. Thus, common currency is needed to raise students’ interest in the class.
Moreover, the benefit of the common currency in the classroom lies in its facilitating the work of a teacher. The matter is that each student in the classroom requires individual attention because “individuals learn in unique ways and well-being is enhanced when education takes this into account” (O’Toole, 2008, p. 71). In order to succeed in learning, the student needs to know that his/her education matters not only for him personally, but for other people as well. Often, it is not easy for the teacher to find individual approach to each of the students. Common currency may help to do this because it enables the teacher to establish good student-teacher relationships and “create spaces for students to leverage who they are and what they know to access the curriculum” (Jackson, 2010, para. 43). In this way, the teacher gets free from the necessity to design individual approaches to each of 25 or 30 students in the classroom.
Finally, common currency contributes greatly into making the work of a teacher more rewarding. For the past several decades teaching has been perceived as “an asymmetrical process where one is providing and the other is receiving” (Hoveid & Hoveid, 2008, p. 126). The relation between learning and teaching has always been standard; it was believed that teachers should teach and students should learn from their teachings. However, it was rarely that giving back something to the teacher took place. Common currency makes it possible to compensate for this injustice. It allows both teacher and students to be who they are (Jackson, 2010). This is a perfect way to reach compromise between the needs of the student and the possibilities of the teacher. Therefore, common currency puts an end to the sacrifices being demanded from teachers. With its help, the teachers do not have to adopt their way of teaching to the students’ way of learning; instead, they can found a way that would be beneficial for both the parties.
In sum, common currency is extremely beneficial for students and teachers. Firstly, it can make a particular class more interesting to the students, which will contribute into their academic success. Secondly, it makes the work of a teacher easier because it serves as a universal approach to all the students. And thirdly, it is rewarding for teachers who finally feel like their needs are also taken into account. Though there exists an idea that common currency is non-beneficial because it excludes punishment as such, it cannot be regarded as valid because incentives have proven to be more beneficial than punishment. Students are more likely to work harder when they are praised for this, rather than when they are punished for not trying hard enough. This is why the argument about the disadvantage of the common currency cannot change my attitude towards this issue. Both students and teachers have to benefit from the learning process; common currency allows achieving this equilibrium between teachers’ and students’ needs this is why its benefits are unquestionable.
Hoveid, H. & Hoveid, M.H. (2008). Teachers’ identity, self and the process of learning. Studies in Philosophy & Education, 27(2-3), 125-136.
Jackson, R.R. (2010). Start where your students are. Educational Leadership, 67(5), 6-10. Web.
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Muller, F.H. & Louw, J. (2004). Learning environment, motivation and interest: Perspectives on self-determination theory. South African Journal of Psychology, 34 (2), 169-190.
O’Toole, L. (2008). Understanding Individual Patterns of Learning: implications for the well-being of students. European Journal of Education, 43 (1), 71-86.