Sunday, March 10, 2013

Teaching or Learning?

This week I have been involved in an ongoing conversation about whether as educators we should be focusing on our teaching or on student learning. As was contemplating this idea, an analogy came to mind that I feel represents how I feel about this discussion:
A teacher is like a good cab driver. A good cab driver knows the best routes to get from Point A to Point B. He knows how to get around construction, avoid troublesome traffic, and make the ride a pleasant one for the occupant. However, until someone gets into the cab, that knowledge is superfluous. Once the occupant gets into the cab and tells the driver where she wants to go, it is the driver’s abilities and skills that help her successfully reach her destination. He gets her to her destination avoiding construction, gliding around traffic jams, while still maintaining an enjoyable experience. As teachers we must be knowledgeable and skilled in strategies and ways to meet all of the challenges that students bring to us. However, without the students showing us their needs, we have no way of knowing which way to navigating their learning. 
I feel that this debate is really focusing on the role of the teacher and the role of the student. Do we want our learners to be passive recipients of information? Or, do we want them to dive into topics, applying their knowledge and skills in a real world, meaningful way? Do we want for our students to merely score well on a standardized test? Or do we want for them to become successful in their lives outside of the classroom walls?

What do you think? I'd love to hear your voice on this subject.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

1 comment:

  1. I want my students to WANT to go somewhere, not to just get in for the ride so they can hang out with their friends for awhile. Yes, dive in to topics and develop real world skills! Ace the test, too. Good teaching leads to good test scores, but the scores aren't our only goal. We want to develop readers, writers, thinkers, creative do-ers!