Stripped down to essentials, this is the basic image of a classroom with which we areall familiar. At its best, when students are actually listening and learning,and when the teacher is truly enthralled with the subject and the experience,the effect can be magic. We have only to consult our popular culture torecognize what this scene can produce in our imaginations, at least. Think of To Sir with Love, or Stand and Deliver, or even ProfessorDumbledore speaking at Hogwarts. Greatness in teaching is possible in such a setting.
Everyday there are teachers in traditionally organized classrooms around the worldwho make the most of their environment by arranging for their students to bedeeply engaged in their own learning experiences. Some do it by bringing constructivisttechniques and concepts into their classrooms; some do it by having such afascination and ability to present their subject matter that students becomefascinated as well; some do it by being charismatic, so that students want tolearn from them and please them; and some do it with a thorough grasp, whetherconscious or intuitive, of the learning process and how it manifests in each oftheir students.