Thursday, March 27, 2014

Teach the Way They Learn

My friend, Grace, sent me a message the other day via Facebook. It was an image she had seen online, and she said it reminded her of me. (I was honored by this--I had the privilege of teaching Grace's kids back at the beginning of my career when I was young and foolish and impetuous. I'm thankful I didn't do too much damage.) The image is one of Michael J. Fox with a great quote on it. I think the quote is misattributed though; for all my searching, I believe it actually belongs to Ignacio Estrada. I decided to make my own version...

And, honestly...I'm grateful that Grace saw this quote and thought of me. This has been my goal, my approach throughout my teaching practice.

I'm not trying to brag, and I'd be lying if I said I have done this perfectly. But I think teachers could take this message to heart:

School is not really about teaching. 
School is about learning.

If a child can't learn the way we teach...maybe we're doing it wrong.

I'm not arguing here for a student-centered classroom. I'm arguing for a learning-centered classroom.

This isn't easy. If we are starting from a strongly teacher-centered teaching practice, I don't think we can't just turn a switch and make a change. (At least, I don't think I can.) I think that modifying our teaching from teacher-centered to learning-centered will take concentrated effort, a daily commitment to learning. And this will probably mean opening ourselves up to the fact that we--the teachers--need to keep learning as well!

Maybe it's time to start taking a long, hard look at what we are doing as teachers. I challenge you to reflect with me on this: 

"Am I structuring my teaching practice 
in a way that is convenient for me, the teacher? 
Or am I practicing my craft in such a way 
that I focus on learning?"

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