Czech EFL

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Subversive teacher

I've been watching in awe how Allen is going crazy about his experiments. Allen is clearly one of a kind and I personally learn loads of new things by simply reading his blog. I just wonder what's going to happen of him. It was the first time here where Allen admitted he would, sooner or later, be fired. Now wouldn't that be a shame?

I can see Allen's point of view as a teacher who loves his students but doesn't give a damn about the system... Isn't learning, though, first of all a long-distance run? Getting the boot then would be a great disservice to the students and eventually a great failure too. Like Aaron in the discussion, I believe the better way is to try working within the system.

I may be here somewhat influenced by AIESEC, a student organization which promotes leadership and encourages young people to take on leadership roles in society, but I believe that teachers are in such a power position that teaching must essentially be about leadership.

Admittedly, it takes a good deal of effort to make any sort of change in mammoth institutions such as universities. I personally draw great inspiration from what Scott Peck said on this: “The only purpose of power is to empower others.”

Become a leader. Empower others. Let them become leaders.


  • At 3:04 PM, Blogger AJ said…

    Change & Transformation

    You make several good points about working in the system. And certainly, being difficult and "radical" for its own sake makes no sense at all.

    However, I think history (and business) show that change usually comes from the outside.

    The Telecommunications industry is a good example. How was it transformed. Certainly not by team-players working within the mega-monopolies (such as ATT).

    It came about because of audacious upstarts outside the system... new cell phone and internet companies. And its still happening, as companies like Skype show.

    The giants did not change internally of their own free will. Rather, the upstarts completely changed the rules from outside. Mammoths that wanted to survive have been forced to change.. though they are still not leaders and probably never will be.

    Another great example is the car company GM. They are huge. They've had many "mavericks" try to change them from within. Yet they remain clueless... and continue to get pounded by more innovative Japanese companies.

    In my own life, I have never directly experienced a large rule-bound, traditional organization changing itself. Not once.

    I have experienced transformations by small and subversive organizations/people. And I have witnessed the decay and demise of big traditional organizations too conservative to change.

    But in a way, I agree with you. My subversion is really quite pointless from an organizational view. It won't result in much change.. and might ultimately cost me my job.

    But this is fine, as my long term goals are not stability in a big school... but rather, to create my own program. For now, its helpful to me to have a stable place to learn and grow as a teacher. And during this time I am contributing to the students and the school (though maybe not as they'd like :)

    But ultimately, I think the fastest way to effect change is to create something new outside... on my own... and change the rules-- rather than waste my time trying to convince people who have no interest in changing.

    The best way I know of changing their minds is to change the rules and threaten their survival :)

  • At 5:20 PM, Blogger Czech TEFLer said…

    Well, great then! Once you have some openings in your EFL bar I'll be the first to apply :)

    In the meantime though keep us all posted! I do really appreciate your openness on these things. I can learn a good deal from that.


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