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城市社图书事业部 中国城市出版社图书事业部主要出版以社科、财经、心灵、教育类为主的图书。 我们拥有一大群才华横溢并且热爱图书出版事业的编辑,组成了富有朝气的出色编辑团队。出版过大量畅销书籍,如《秘密》等。 我们一直致力于打造精品图书,传播精英文化,为读者提供最贴心的知识需求。 希望你和我们一样: 享受阅读,它让我们的内心宁静平和却充满力量。

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《中国教师报》独家专访雷夫·艾斯奎斯老师  

2009-11-23 09:11:31|  分类: 阳光教育书系 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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http://www.chinateacher.com.cn/news/2009/1104/9200.asp

雷夫·艾斯奎斯
    美国洛杉矶市霍巴特小学的五年级教师,1981年加州大学洛杉矶分校毕业。从教20余年,获奖无数,包括1992年迪士尼全国年度教师称号、1997年《父母》杂志年度教师奖、奥普拉·温弗瑞的“生命诚可贵奖”、“总统国家艺术奖”,并获英国女王颁发的不列颠帝国勋章(OBE)。他把奖金捐给了学校和学生,成立了“霍巴特莎士比亚”慈善基金。雷夫·艾斯奎斯被《华盛顿邮报》资深教育观察家杰伊·马修誉为“美国最好的教师”、“美国最有趣、最有影响力的教师”,是《中国教师报》2007年“海外”版获奖专栏“走近美国当代名师”重点介绍的美国名师之一(收录于《在与众不同的教室里》一书)。

1. Do you think you are a born-to-be teacher?

I do not think that. My family thought I would be a lawyer. I do think that some people have natural gifts that help them as teachers. Kids have always seemed to trust my leadership. I began working summer camps when I was 13 to make some extra money. I liked this girl at school and needed the cash before I asked her out. Even back then I seemed to be able to establish a good relationship with children. Though I do not think teachers are “born,” there are people who have more natural talent with kids, in the same way that some people are born with more athletic or artistic ability than others.

 

2. Do you think you hold some strong beliefs about teaching? What are they? Facing the harsh reality of education, have you ever doubt yourself?

I doubt myself every day. I fail often. There are many nights when I cannot sleep, angry with myself for not reaching a kid. Education is harsh. I am trying to teach children to be honorable in a world that is often dishonorable. I am trying to convince kids to be kind in a world that is often mean. My strongest two beliefs about teaching are:

First, we must be the people we want our kids to be. We must set the example through behavior and not lecture. I want my students to be nice and to work hard. That means I have to be the nicest and hardest working person they have ever met.

Second, we need to be patient. People are expecting kids to know everything there is to know in a matter of weeks! This is a marathon and not a sprint. I am not in a hurry. I don’t care about the test at the end of the week. I am more concerned with what can I give a child that he will be using in his life ten years from now.

 

 3. As a primary school teacher, you seem to be omnipotent. Do you think all primary teachers should possess the abilities as yours? How can a new teacher become a teacher like you?

I am not omnipotent! And I would NEVER want a teacher to be like me. A teacher needs to be himself. I do think that young teachers should observe as many good teachers as they can find. Here in the USA teachers are often isolated and lonely. I just hope new teachers can find caring mentors to help them get though bad days. But a teacher should never want to be like me. I’m very ordinary. They need to be true to themselves.

4. Do you think all the school teachers should be as devoted as you, spending time as much as possible for the benefits of the children? If not, do you think there should be a boundary of responsibilities for most teachers?

Teachers should NOT be as devoted as me. The reason my second book is called “methods and madness” is that there are GREAT teachers who don’t have to be crazy like me. But the methods section is for everyone. The madness section is for lunatics who want to give even more than most teachers.

There are fantastic teachers who have small children at home and cannot devote the time I do. But they are still wonderful teachers. I only ask teachers to try their best on the job. In America, sadly, there are some teachers who do not care at all. They sit and read the paper or surf the internet while their students are out of control. This is not acceptable. But I certainly do not think teachers should give the time I do.

  5. How did you balance between the students and the family in terms of time management?

Family has to come first. People often ask me about my family as though I never see them. I do not write about them because they are not relevant to my books. I have a beautiful wife and four children and we are very close.  My oldest son is a teacher, one daughter a doctor and the second daughter a lawyer. My youngest son is a computer programmer. I am able to give my family lots of time because I do not watch television. I come home to them, and not to a screen.

 

6. As you are a criticizer of US schools, how much and in what ways do you think you differ from most of the American school teachers?

I am not different from American teachers as a person. We are the same. I am different from some because I will not allow the system to make me teach lies to the children. In America, we teach children that their test scores and grades are the most important assessment about how they are doing in school. I disagree. I believe the most important things we teach children cannot be quantified.

    America must learn that arts education is essential in the healthy development of a child. We have practically eliminated the arts from schools, and that is a mistake. The arts are a more important part of my classroom than most teachers. I also am different in remaining true to myself, and not letting the system corrupt me. I will not allow publishing companies and testing services run my class. These people do not care about the kids. They have an economic agenda. I have an educational agenda.

 7. If you, like most Chinese school teachers, were put into a classroom with over 50 students, what of your teaching will be changed and what will not be changed?

Nothing would change. After school, when I teach Shakespeare, I have well over 50 kids. My classroom works because I am not important. In America, “celebrity teachers” think the class is all about them. It should be about the kids. Because my students take responsibility for their progress, larger classes do not function poorly. The kids run the show. I just guide them. The focus of the class: integrity, honesty, and being kind, matter in a class of 2 or a class of 52. Of course smaller classes are easier, but I would rather have a terrific teacher with 50 than a bad teacher with 5.

 

8. You don't think teachers and students are friends, but in your students’ eyes, are you a friend of them? How do your students think of you?

    My students do not think I am special. Like any other teacher, some kids love me, some don’t think of me, and some even hate me! They care about one another and our community in Room 56. Very few understand my sacrifice. They are just kids.

 I care deeply about them, and we spend a lot of time on the road together (see www.hobartshakespeareans.org) but I think my students barely know I exist. I guess they think I am okay. They do like the fact that I do not yell at them or scare them. They mention that often.

  

 9. Your students work harder than their peers, have you ever worried that they work TOO hard?

    My students have a wonderful time in school. They work hard on projects that are challenging but FUN. I also give almost no homework. I don’t believe in it.

I do worry that other teachers visit me, see the hard work, and mistakenly try to recreate this work ethic by turning their classrooms into prisons. This happens a lot in America, and it frightens me. Many of these “prison schools” are honored by the American media because the kids are quiet and stand in line. Of course they do. They are scared to death! My students laugh all day long. Look at their faces.

 

10. How did you become yourself as a school teacher? What are the most important forces in the building of your professionalism?

I was most influenced by 3 or 4 of my greatest students. They are grown now and we are very close. Their advice and love helped me grow a lot. My wife, the smartest person I know, was enormously important in my development as a role model for the students.

Sir Ian McKellen, the great Shakespearean actor, is a special friend to me and has helped me develop the arts in my class.

And Atticus Finch, the character from the American classic To Kill A Mockingbird, is very important to me.

 11. Do you think you are an education idealist or an education realist? What are your impressions about Chinese education and what are your suggestions for your Chinese colleagues?

    I am a pessimist but my children do not know this. I think the future is bleak. I see a world that celebrates violence and ignorance. I do not believe our best days are ahead. But as long as I am standing, I will try my best to show my students a different way to live a life. I fail more than I succeed. But I never surrender. Every day, I will give my students my best effort. Each day matters, and that is the subject of my latest book Lighting Their Fires. It is my most important and personal work. I hope your readers enjoy it.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me!

 

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