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Ramblings On Teaching November 29, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science.

Teaching could be considered to be the art and science of knowledge and skill transfer. It is really an interesting thing to consider that knowledge or an ability could expand from one person to another. I am of the belief that the relationship between the student and the teacher is the best (or worst) means by which this transfer happens.

 This is not to say a teacher with natural relationship skills can skate by or that a teacher with challenged relational skills can’t teach anyone. No, what i am saying is that the teacher’s teaching strategy is himself or herself. The teacher’s use of self is going to be the most real thing the students ever get.

Sure, technology is important and I believe becoming an essential part of the teaching process, but the reason that there is no replacement for a good teacher is that the internet does not care about students. The internet cannot connect with students on an emotional level. Yes, there are certain emotions various sites or programs that can be run on the internet can touch, but evoking an emotion and connecting emotionally in a relationship are apples and oranges. The internet will not remember that emotion, a good teacher will.

Technology cannot invest in a student. Only teacher’s can do that. Technology is a tool, a relationship is a generative and developing process of social integration that contains the kind of depth that can generate security, confidence, and trust.

One way in which the teacher uses himself or herself best is by de-centering a little from the roel of container fo all knowledge. Yes, the teacher needs to sort of be the expert on the subject, but he or she does not need to be uthoritarian with that status. In fact sheeding the status without shedding the knowledge or skill is critical for good teaching. When the teacher enters the learning process as not only a teacher, but a teacher who still has something to learn, then the student can feel confident that we are doing this thing, this learning thing, together. It resolves some feeligs of knowledge and skill isolation and inferiority.

Granted, some course content lends itself to expert and novice roles, but much or it does not. And even in those cases when it does, the kind of comfort a good teacher can give to a student through connection is crucial.

Teachers who have found their teaching voice know that they can speak it fluently and are eager to develop it in depth and breadth. And when the teacher speaks in his or her own voice, it is more likely that the students will make sense of it. However, when the teacher is trying to speak in someone else’s voice, something is lost in translation.

Any teachers or students out there want to chime in?



1. Jamie - November 29, 2006

I do not teach children, but adults. I think what I’ve learned is that to truly allow participants to become learners I must not be a teacher, as much as a facilitator.

Just my .02


2. Fajita - November 29, 2006

Great 2 cents. There is a sense of honor that much be shared in good teaching. Too much expert (know it all) and not enough learner and there is little chance for honor.

This is true with adult to adult teaching, as would be expected, but it is also true with adult child teaching. Adults are allowed to disrespect children and no one really gets bent out of shape unless it becomes abusive. Well, there is a long distance btween disresepct and abuse.

Facilitating learning is really best. A facilitator allows learning to happen rather than makes learning happen. At the same time, a facilitator has the flexibility to put on the expert hat if needed.

3. bek - November 29, 2006

teacher here 🙂 – i have found that people “in charge” of me often want me to teach in a straight forward, easily-assessed dictator-type manner – but i am finding that one doesn’t necessarily have to lead this way to be strong – i find that facilitating and enabling go well with teaching, and so does flexibility………..oh, funny, i just read jamie’s comment, and he used the same word! facilitate…….that must be it…..and in scenes where i am the learner, i enjoy being allowed to participate, as if i may have something to offer as well….

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