A Tale of Two Classrooms - Teacher as Learner

       This is the second in a ten-part series based on the poster: A Tale of Two Classrooms.


Teacher as Learner

       Every teacher will tell you that they have learned so much more about the subject and content that they teach once they began teaching.  People have this belief that teachers know everything their is to know about their content.  While teachers may be considered "experts" about the content that they teach, it is probably impossible to actually know everything about a particular content.

       We now know that our best teachers are the people who are continually learning about there subject(s).  More importantly, our best teachers are continually learning about the best way to help their (many and diverse) students to learn.  The science of how students learn is a growing industry.  Brain science and cognitive science is constantly informing education about how students think and learn and retain information.  Teachers who do their best to continually grow and improve are spending time learning about the best ways to reach their students.  Teaching strategies, engaging activities, better communication with students, and encouraging more student discourse all fall into the category of improving the classroom atmosphere for better learning.

       A learning teacher is also a person who asks good questions of him- or herself as well as of their students.  A learning teacher doesn't mind if a student asks a question that they cannot answer right away.  It is not seen as a weakness, but instead as a learning opportunity for the teacher.  (And isn't it great to have students in your class that ask such deep, and high-level questions?)  A learning teacher models for students that learning is ongoing; it never ends.  Even this adult in the room who has been teaching for ten years is still learning.

       A learning teacher invites questions and ideas and suggestions.  A teacher that knows everything and spends the entire class time reciting information discourages participation because students assume that he/she will tell them what they need to know; so there is no reason to explore or think or question.

       I want my children to have teachers that are constantly learning because I want my children to become adults who are constantly learning.


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