Thursday, 15 January 2015 10:26

Confidence is the key to education not technology

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Las Vegas recently hosted the Consumer Electronics Show.


As one of the world’s premier technology and electronics events, the CES is where tech companies unveil and promote their most cutting-edge products. With each passing year, it seems that technology moves ever quicker from its release at the CES and into our daily lives.
One aspect of our life that technology is said to improve is education, but can technology in the classroom live up to its promise? We are quick to adopt the latest gadgets even if we don’t always understand the long-term consequences.
To seek answers, I spoke with James McLellan, a technology and film studies teacher. McLellan and his students have won many awards for their films. Most recently, James won the Best Canadian Short Film Award at Toronto’s After Dark Film Festival.
McLellan offered a word of caution in regards to technology. To start, he says that technology isn’t a substitute for real experience.
Also, he explained that a lot of the newest tech is made to be as user-friendly as possible. Using it, even mastering it, requires little skill so it can’t instill much confidence.
And confidence is what McLellan believes students need to succeed in the world, not tech skills.
According to McLellan, the number one goal of all teachers should be to make the students believe they will succeed. In short, to be confident in their eventual success. Confidence is the ability to know that you will make it — a vital trait for young adults entering an ever-changing world.
In case you suspect McLellan fosters confidence with overwhelming positivity or false praise, think again. With 16 years experience in the Canadian Forces, McLellan believes confidence grows out of hard work and praise for honest effort.
But he isn’t a harsh disciplinary either. Instead, he establishes standards that he pushes his students to meet and exceed. If they do poorly on an exam, he doesn’t make them feel stupid. Low grades don’t equal a bad kid. Parents don’t send their children to school to be told they’re failures.
McLellan knows of too many students who are berated by teachers. Many of them take the harsh criticism to heart and believe they’re dummies, sometimes for life. For McLellan, if students leave Grade 12 with less confidence than when they entered Grade 1 the system has failed. Less confident people settle for less than they deserve — a sad fate, indeed.
While technology can be a powerful tool, the more powerful tool is confidence.
(Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one ofits victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertakethat journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more information about his speaking engagements, phone 306-661-8975 or visit www.canoetoneworleans.com.)

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.