Saturday, April 30, 2011

"There is so much I want to teach you."

"There is so much I want to teach you."

This statement reflects my excitement at the start of a new term, as I think of how I will update and enrich my course content for incoming students. It reflects the frustration I sometimes feel when a class or online module ends and we have to move on. It reflects the pressure I feel as the term ends and we haven't covered or the students haven't grasped as much as I had anticipated.

This seemingly benevolent sentiment is the bane of my teaching/learning existence.

This statement is a setup for me as teacher and you as learner and vice versa. It suggests knowledge transfer instead of knowledge construction. It leads me to keep the class late, keep the modules open, lecture, direct, talk really fast. And yet I know that learning is not a process of receiving information from a teacher.

"There is so much I want my students to learn."

This slight change in wording leads me to think in a totally different way. By focusing on learning rather than teaching I am reminded that I believe learning is a matter of constructing meaning, not of receiving information. It reminds me to think creatively about what people, ideas, activities, questions, images, conversations students might engage with in order that they may grow their understanding.

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