Reflections for EDET677–Essential Question: Can you teach more than you know?

Aleta May

July 10, 2016

Reflections for EDET677 Robotics

Essential Question: Can you teach more than you know?

There are so many things we can teach ourselves how to do. Students can teach themselves how to do things by watching others and trial and error. We cannot force students to learn what they don’t understand, what seems irrelevant to them, or because of reasons like fear or immaturity at the time for the concept(s) being taught.

One style of teaching that I do believe works well is to take what you do know about say working with wood and serve as a mentor to the intern. I am amazed at what students will do with only a small bit of guitar instruction that has to do with chording when they are already more skilled at I at playing lead guitar.

Sitting next to someone and talking to them in stories is another good way to teach; and as your own story unfolds, you learn from the storytelling yourself! Even going for a walk with a child and looking more closely at something you as an adult had not even noticed for such a long, long time causes the adult to reach deep into what they do know from prior learning and use their more experienced power of reasoning to teach that child—whether it is an insect or the root of a very large tree.

There is so much to learn from this one question! I do believe that we do have now at our fingertips the ability to make connections with so much information over the Internet (both reading, listening, and social networking) that it is more possible that could have been imagined when I was in High School or Community College to teach myself in a way that I could teach more than I knew about the topic I am being asked to teach. One very large point that has been made is that students need to learn how to think meta-cognitively so they may release the teacher to facilitate their learning. There simply is not enough time in a day for teachers to stay ahead of students in a multiplicity of subjects—for they too have lives beyond their jobs and need to refill their own cup before it is empty.

Comments I made to blog readings on this topic this week:

Anastasia,

@adishnook Hi Anastasia. I posted a reply to your Week 8 blog post.

I tend to think of teaching more than I know as when I am a facilitator of learning. I am not really teaching more than I know, so much as I am teaching students how to learn on their own. If I can pick up a manual and teach myself, I am teaching students to pick up a set of instructions (such as graphic novel formatted instructions for how to do different activities in Minecraft).

Empowering students to learn reminds me of the ‘can do’ Mindset. If we model this in front of students, they may at first be surprised to find out that the teacher is learning as they go, or just barely ahead of the students. However, we are teaching them that our job is to really teach them how to learn.

I think my favorite in the key trends in your list is “Introverted students are finding ways to participate in class discussions online.”

I really enjoyed reading your post! Thank you for sharing.

Aleta

Gerald,

After watching Middle School and High School teachers teach across wide subject content areas in our school. Also, at one point I taught a High School English class (my area of specialty then was K-12, mild – severe cognitive impairment; special education)with 14 students and 5 books, and no teacher guide as I waited for the new system to take place (which ended up taking longer than anticipated). Fortunately, I had purchased a book for English teachers that had blackline masters—and we took off on learning about writing using metaphors, analogies, etc.

It seems like there are many rural areas across the nation that have had a hard time filling (and retaining) positions with teachers who are highly qualified. Therefore, the Makerspace idea in my mind is part of connecting subject areas. Subject areas overlap in many ways. Also, teaching thematically, while using making to express something a student made from Minecraft into a physical model of a house with proportional measurements, using Arduino electronics with LED light switches and incorporating art would be a way to tie it all together.

Overly restricting internet access, then, creates a digital divide. Some districts find ways to manage student/teacher internet usage, while others just restrict it to the point that using video clips to teach students in a teachable moment is out of the question. How can we teach students research skills to answer their own questions if it is overly restricted?

Amy,

Thank you for painting that beautiful picture for me about your daughters! The key is that relationship building is how young people (our own children or our students) let us in. The point you made says to me that if we are willing to learn from them; even look silly doing so; they will be much more likely to listen to our wisdom from experience(s) in our own lives.

Since we cannot be experts at everything, and our students need to learn how to learn, then, yes, we can teach what we do not know. Even what we do know, there are many facets and deeper levels to that thing we know.

Genevieve,

I agree that our students desperately need to take more ownership of their own learning. We have in recent years taught them to sit quietly, receive information (whether it relates to their current schemata—visuals in their minds of what they think the teacher is talking about or not); then simply reproduce the knowledge imparted to them.

Somewhere I read about having students first individually and quietly write what they are interested in making; maybe from categories or a list of ideas before sharing with others. What I like about this method is that students are then divided off into similar interests for collaboration and project making. I recently heard a student tell me that what they do not like is to be grouped off with one or two people who just wait for her to do the work for all of them. I agree with her comment! This is not collaborative learning!.

I really do like the blended learning environment. As a special education teacher, having opportunities for students to work on skills on a computer allows me to work with another student one-on-one, and then to trade.

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