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The classroom is not an arena and the teacher is not a ringmaster

Written by Paul Dix

Teaching from behind a desk and a laptop is a dangerous game. With barricades positioned carefully, the teacher attempts
to manage the class from the worst possible vantage point. The class, who are being asked to watch their sixth PowerPoint presentation of the day, throw grenades from behind dimly-lit back rows. How can you manage students if the computer screen has lost its novelty appeal and there are turf wars in the middle rows?

Sitting behind a desk is what my teachers used to do. It was a riot. I know, because I was the balaclava headed youth with the best aim. With the crowd behind me, I was able to push the teacher’s buttons with precision from 20 feet away, shooting straight over the desks into their corner of imagined security. As a student who enjoys a battle, what better field of play than from a safe distance and across the desks of the expectant audience? My experience of interchanges from both sides is that it quickly escalates to, ‘How dare you say that to me? Get out of my room!’ Chair thrown back, door slammed, optional swearing, lengthy report etc.


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© Paul Dix

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