Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We are all Learners...

In my classrooms I have been referring to myself as a learner, on equal footing with all learners in my classrooms. Many of the learners continue to struggle with this distinction, insisting I am a teacher. I continue to insist I am not, I am not in charge of their learning. Their difficulties appear to stem from the switch they must make as they enter and leave my classroom.
Sylvia Martinez quotes Seymour Papert in her k12online2007 presentation as saying:

What we need is kinds of activity in the classroom where the teacher is learning at the same time as the kids and with the kids. Unless you do that, you'll never get out of the bind of what the teachers can do limited by what they were taught to do when they went to school.

This is the climate I have been trying to foster. Sylvia's presentation is well worth watching for this very reason, as well as her obvious professionalism. My struggles to create a SWAT team is exactly what she addresses! I'm using the acronym SWAT and her presentation uses SST. The foundation is the same. The adults learn from the students. Or restated, we are all learners.
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NJTechTeacher said...

I find it easier to learn at the same time as the kids in computer class. Last year, we learned iMove and GarageBand together. I just showed them how to access the tools and a few basic pointers and they took it from there. I learned things about the program that I wouldn't have stumbled on.

In math class, however, I'm still finding my feet in this regard. I'm looking forward to Sylvia's presentation.

At this point, I'm still working through the SL presentation. I downloaded SL in August and hadn't touched it. I didn't "get" it. It's much more than I realized.


Erin Frasco said...

No matter how long a person has been teaching, there are still things for them to learn. I know when I was in grade school I thought my teacher knew everything and was right about everything. My teachers were never wrong and always had the answers. Well, now I realize that that simply is not true. Even though teachers are authority figures and do know a lot, there are still things that they do not know and do not understand. Teachers learn every day of their lives by watching their students and interacting with students. Also, young students do not realize that many teachers are attending school at night after they are done teaching. Could you imagine what they would think if they knew their teachers still went to school as well?

Amanda said...

I agree, in my class I also try to work with the kids as learners - and we often talk about each others smarts and weaknesses/strengths that they can share with each other, including myself.
They have developed a really cool kinda of mutual respect with each other and myself through this.
I am going to go away and watch Sylvia's presentation now, I am very interested to find out more... thanks! :)

Nick Schroder said...

This is a powerful comment and should be a real gut check for students once they realize that they are responsible for their learning. As educators it is our job to provide each student with an equal chance to learn. At times we must discipline or motivate, but learning is a task that can only be achieved by oneself.

It is also encouraging to see an educator still have desires to learn and not become comfortable after years of experience. Education doesn’t have to be limited to students. All members of a school’s society, including parents, should take part in the act of learning despite their occupation, age, or experience.

Teachers must find it rewarding when a student uses a critical thinking approach or scientific method to come up with an answer that they (the teacher) might not have had. Instead of feeling upset or threatened, they need to realize they have taught the intangible things to that student. For a student to demonstrate knowledge about the application process of the content taught is the goal of teaching. We often forget this amongst the debacle of fact regurgitation and standardized testing.