June 25, 2011
“Teaching is found in the continuous movement between what has already been said and what remains to be said-what is being said differently.” Marc-Alain Quaknin 20th-21st century
Teaching is what I do. The expansive nature of both teaching and learning is just one of the things I love about my vocation. Going into any subject, concept, or unit, I never consider that I , or anyone else knows everything there is to know about the topic. In the 21st century, new knowledge is generated and accumulated at such a rapid rate that many textbooks are outdated long before they stop being used. New interpretations of the same data, and new testing of the same theories, are constantly born as both technological advances and our knowledge base about any given subject increases. Here we can recognize the dynamic nature of both teaching and learning. What was taught or accepted as “truth”, or “the way to do something” before, is not always the last, irrefutable word on any subject. Remember when our world was flat? Viewing anything with new eyes, using new tools, creates a new perspective. Each person has their own unique personal approach. Much may remain to be said and you and I and every other person may express it differently.
It’s exciting to me when a student offers up a new way of doing a task or solving a problem. I remind them constantly that they have much to teach each other and me. I hope that when my students witness my mistakes and the way I handle them, they’re inspired to stretch themselves and take risks, to possibly make mistakes, and learn from them. Guiding students to discover not only the bounty of knowledge that exists, but also to consider all that is still unknown, is one of the most fulfilling and exciting things I can imagine. The most effective types of teaching, the best practices, don’t always take place within the confines of a classroom. Effective lessons don’t always come from the instructor’s mouth or from a textbook. Quality teaching and authentic learning are occurring constantly in the minds of students and teachers who value knowledge and approach the process and the products with humility and respect.
Peace, Love, and Continual Learning