Learning is a social activity.
A quick search of respected sources such as General Psychology, Psychology Today (article by Dr. Matthew J. Edlund, and one of my favorite education writers Annie Murphy Paul will help all of us to understand that the best learning requires active participation by the learner. (View an excellent talk by Dr. Paul here.) The old days of "sit and get", don't-talk-in-class, teacher-in-the-front-of-the-room-doing-all-of-the-talking have been shown to be effective for an incredibly small percentage of our students.
The problem is that most of our current teachers grew up in a school setting in which less student talk was the norm. The teacher was the sole source of knowledge in the classroom and the students were discouraged from sharing their thoughts and ideas with each other. Hence, many current classrooms engage in this same classroom structure that existed 20 and 40 and 60 years ago. "It was good enough for me, and so it will be good enough for my students" as the thinking goes.
This requires our teachers to have a knowledge of how students learn and to use that knowledge to create lessons that incorporate the strategies that are most effective in helping our students to learn.
Learning is a social activity no matter where the learning takes place. Adults who learn via asking questions and reading information and watching others and making mistakes and asking more questions, etc.; should not expect students to learn any differently.
And if students aren't learning, then what's the point of school?
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