Robert Hylton [robh]
What subjects do you teach? What types of students do you have?
After more years than I care to remember as a musician and teacher (both as a private tutor and a classroom music specialist) I got interested in the web side of things. My students reflect this mix.
My music education resources website (which supplies downloadable pdf based worksheets and handouts to teacher's) can be picked up at http://musicteachingresources.com
Can you provide a link to a site where we can see something about what you do or the center where you work?
http://musicteachingresources.com for the classroom stuff and http://teachwombat.com for the guitar and bass materials
How have your past experiences prepared you for teaching? How did you become interested in education?
As a professional musician it was a bit of a no brainer when it came to what to do for money when I didn't hae a gig and I found that I enjoyed the teaching just as much as getting up on my hind legs and playing for people.
Who was your most influential teacher and why?
It was a guy called Arthur Barnett who didn't start teaching until relatively late in life. Its an interesting idea that it might not be such a healthy thing in some cases to start going to school when you are six or seven and to not leave that enviorenment until you retire?
What is your educational philosophy?
Teaching is about learning. Pure and simple. I love the opportunities that technology throws our way but teaching that does not lead to a joined up knowledge on a cognitive level is just talking at best and babysitting at worst? I (like a lot of other teachers) am concerned that we test too much and teach too little. The fact that someone could be encouraged to jump through a series of hoops is no help to them when they come to rely on the "sellable skills" that the process of education is supposed to have given them. Distance learning programmes with multiple choice radio buttons on tests don't do it for me. When administrators talk about these programmes being "cost effective" I know which word they are focussed on
What is the most challenging aspect of teaching for you?
Getting my head off the pillow. After that it's just about being prepared and adapting to the situation
What kind of relationship do you have with your students?
You'd have to ask them for a truly objective view but I tell them that since I don't take the credit when they are great I won't take the blame when they stink! Like I said before teaching is about learning and it takes two to tango.
What is the secret to instilling interest in knowledge?
Encouraging a real fear of the consequences of being dumb!
What is your philosophy on homework and grading?
You have to use (hopefully) objective testing for diagnostic purposes but for too many individuals and organisations this seems to be the point of it all. at its best its a tool. at worst it's the administrative tail wagging the educational dog.
Is it possible to teach creativity? how?
You can do a lot by facilitating creativity but it's the student who has to get a handle on shuttling between the left and right sides of the brain and organising the results of that process into a piece of work or a statement of some kind
How do you establish authority? What do you do when a discipline problem arises?
My classroom teaching experience goes from 8 year old kids to postgraduate music students so there are a whole range of strategies available. its all about judgement calls and hopefully I get more of those right than I get wrong?
How do you individualize your teaching? How do you handle the different ability levels of students in classes?
Teach the person not the subject. That just about sums it up for me.
What cooperative learning means to you. How have you used it?
Music in most of its forms is a collaborative discipline (apart from the countless hours of individual practice that hopefully goes on but for which I am thankfully not present) so to a large extent a students biggest resource is not the teacher or the institution that they attend but their fellow learners.
What do you expect from your supervisor? What qualities would you like to have in your principal?
I have to admit that I like it when they leave me alone to do the thing that I am paid for?
What issues in education are of greatest concern to you?
Getting students to buy into the idea that they participate in it rather than have it done to them.
Would it be a good thing if teachers had economic incentives based on student performance?
Besides more financial resources, what do today's schools lack?
Nothing. They still have students. They still have teachers. The trick is to make it work. The raw materials are there.
What are some ways you have incorporated technology into the classroom.
Technology is just part of the change process (along with political, economic and social influences). It's going to change and effect things but I am sometimes concerned that people think that use of technology "is" education. The use of a calculator is no proof that the brain could do the sum on it's own and too many of the things that I see coming down the technology pipe replace understanding with a reliance on software. Machines are great if they help you to use your understanding to get a better result but If you don't understand the questio without them then you shouldn't put yourself in the position of relying on the answer that they give?
In light of new technologies, do we need to reinvent the school, its methods and objectives?
See Above. I'm by no means a luddite but as I said before teaching is about learning. We got this far as a species by increasing our understanding. sometimes technology erodes understanding while increasing effect which can lead to all sorts of unpleasant things.
If you could create the ideal school, what would it be like?
Near the beach
What do you think schools will be like in 20 years?
Getting along fine wthout me in them I hope (unless they're particularly close to the beach and end the school day at noon).
What are your professional goals? Where do you want to be in five years?
Still enjoying the process of learning (my own as well as my students)
What qualities would you need to see in someone before advising him/her to go into teaching?
An ability to endure poverty, something to do during the holidays and a sense of humour