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The day started out differently than usual because while I was in the staffroom waiting for the first lesson to start I noticed that the teacher was not there. In fact, he was sick. So, I had to stay in the staffroom throughout the first lesson. During this moment I noticed how much teachers are able to socialize and get to know each other. It is different than the first break time. There is less confusion. Probably because during this time about half of the teachers had a lesson. Some teachers worked on their individual computers while others ended up talking about random things. I think this is the ideal time for teachers to get some work done.
The second and third lessons I observed were a Computer Studies class. This double lesson consisted of a test in Java programming. Students were given a particular scenario which they had to break down and implement as a program. Also, at first the teacher made sure that all the students arrived at the Computer Lab and seated separately and away from each other so as not to copy. Then the teacher showed the test exercise on PowerPoint and explained what they had to do for about five minutes. The students could use JCreator or BlueJ (these are the IDEs that are used throughout the Maltese secondary schools for Java programming) through the whole test. Also, it was an open book test so they could check their notes and books if they got stuck somewhere. I think that this method really helps the students but at the same time those who did not study will only lose time during the test to find what they need to tackle their task.
Later after the test I went to see the rehearsal of the Christmas school play. It is important to note how much students can learn by participating in these extracurricular activities. However, behind all these activities there are also teachers who dedicate themselves and contribute much of their time to bring such activities to success. I think that such a thing is not easy in a time where the syllabus is so exhaustive. Teachers should aim to make the knowledge interesting by engaging the pupils even if restricted by the syllabus. Maybe a teacher who’s behind in the syllabus would prefer to focus only on that especially when exams are right around the corner. However, there is more that we can teach to students besides the syllabus and the academic achievements. There is the personal growth of each individual socially and emotionally. I do not blame teachers that restrict their lessons to the syllabus because they only have 40-45 minutes a lesson where about 5-10 other minutes are lost for students to move from one class to another, settle down, bring out the books needed and such. What we really need to ask ourselves is: Does the current education system really provide a holistic learning experience to the students?
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Christopher Felix Bezzina
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