When does ‘resource support’ becomes ‘pressure to conform’?

I applaud all of those teachers who selflessly share their best resources with others through various online repositories. Some of the major ones have hundreds of thousands of resources and are available regardless of geography (for example, the http://tes.co.uk/resources collection which boasts ‘the largest network of teachers in the world’). One of the real boons of the Web has been the ability simply to share resources and draw on the imagination and ingenuity of others (with the option to use them collaboratively even more of a bonus).

Some education authorities also provide a wealth of resources, usually tied to particular curriculum areas, topics, units, activities or assessment items. These, too, can be very useful.

I wonder, though, whether it is always in our best interest when an education authority provides a collection of resources so explicitly linked to each learning activity/ task/ assessment item? Is it possible that this kind of detailed link between a unit and relevant resources can suggest:

  • these resources MUST be used;
  • these resources are ALL that you need to use/ may use
  • these resources must be used IN THIS ORDER/ IN THIS WAY
  • these resources WILL work with all students/ teaching styles/ in all learning contexts?

If this is the outcome – desired or not – is it fair to raise concerns about:

  • de-professionalising teachers who become deliverers of standardised courses?
  • limitations on creativity, ingenuity, responsiveness to individual learning needs?

Seems to me that there is the potential for, paradoxically, these potentially marvellous resource banks to become counter-productive, working against other educational aims such as joint construction of meaning, individualised learning, and wide-ranging collaborative learning.



One thought on “When does ‘resource support’ becomes ‘pressure to conform’?”

  1. I think your concern about teachers becoming de-professionalised “deliverers of standardised courses” could become quite ‘real’ in the near future. We are being asked to deliver a National Curriculum that can be prescriptive in terms of content. It is understandable that certain educational groups and sectors have sought to create certainty for users by suggesting sequencing of content and resources. At the same time, paradoxically, teachers are also being asked to take an increased level of individual responsibility for tailoring the learning to the individual needs of students (and providing evidence of such) under the new National Professional Standards. A one-size-fits-all approach to resourcing simply isn’t appropriate on any level (from what happens every day in each unique classroom to the objective measures of teacher effectiveness).

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