The way teachers teach their students has, I believe, a direct correlation to the way in which they learn themselves. We have all read in the latest teaching journals that teachers of today have to be devoted to lifelong learning. But what does that mean, really? What elements affect teacher learning and then in turn affect how that teacher teaches?
I used to think I was a pretty good teacher. Now I realize that I did the best I could with the knowledge I had, but my classroom was woefully inadequate for many of my students. I failed to equip them with what they needed. I now believe my students are competent to show me what they need, if only I take the time to listen and ask authentic questions. I’m becoming a better teacher by giving up a lot of what I used to think.
I believe it is not enough to judge humankind on scientific principles — which historically have often been temporary truths. Schooling must respect the art of human-ness and so we should design natural learning environments to maximize our children’s innate assets.
“I’ve been reading about Project Based Learning for some time now,” writes international teacher-blogger Jenny Luca, “and struggled trying to find a way to integrate this kind of pedagogy into my regular English classroom practice.” This year Jenny and her teacher teammates included a 3-week PBL experience in their unit on Romeo and Juliet. “This has been one of the most rewarding activities I’ve been involved in this year. I’m invested in it and I can feel that passion for what I do apparent when I’m interacting with the students.”
Many teachers who opt for the flipped classroom strategy are not pursuing a student-centered approach to teaching and learning, says Shelley Wright. The traditional model is simply being reversed — not reinvented. The lecture (live or on video) is still front and center. “Learning isn’t simply a matter of passively absorbing new information while watching a lecture on video,” she says. “New knowledge should be actively constructed.”
Embedded technology is not evidence of a transformational shift in teaching practice. It’s possible to embed technology into every aspect of teaching and learning and still have a completely teacher-centered classroom, with the teacher in control of what is learned, how it’s learned, and for the most part, how students show their learning.