Monday, April 18, 2016

Teaching or Learning?

A recent conversation with an educator got me thinking about how my role as an educator both in the classroom and as a frequent volunteer “felt” different than the way this teacher articulated her role.  As close as I can come to what I’m feeling is that to one degree or another, teachers differ on a dimension which I will call teaching/learning.

There are those whose focus is primarily on teaching.  They deliver lessons, they demonstrate, they assign, and they assess, which usually means assigning a grade.  Those who focus on learning, assess, assign, may give mini-lessons, and give information sparingly.  The learning focused ask many questions and, rather than giving answers, give key bits of information.

Of course, no teacher is all “teaching oriented”, nor all “learning oriented.”  It’s something of a continuum.  What I see as key here is the placement of assessment.  Is an assessment as summary judgement or is it an exploration of the frontiers of a child’s world?  Is education curriculum centric or is it learning centric?

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