A new perspective on Teaching and Learning

Hello Friends,

One of the best advice that I have heard as a teacher was “to be careful not to teach like you were taught.” That was easier said than done. After all, it worked for me and others. However, the time has come to recognize that the teacher is not the only source of information in the classroom. Students learn more than content in the classroom. The teachers also teach more than content. The teacher and the students’ personalities, values and belief systems affect the teaching and learning process.  The environment including the advancement and accessibility of technology also play a role in the process.

 

I recalled as a French teacher in a particular setting, many students preferred Google Translation on their cellular device over the hard copy bilingual dictionary.  I would have preferred that they used the dictionary. Why? I am one that values holistic learning.  The dictionary is a rich valuable resource; it offers so much more than a translation- and in this case Google translation is sometimes out of context.   I realize that it takes more time to look up a word in a dictionary/thesaurus versus Google Translation. My students seemed to value the instantaneous gratification that this platform offers.  How do we reconcile the two- my desire for delayed holistic learning and technology endearment and sensible captivation? Well, there is the online dictionary.

 

The time has come to realize that as teachers we are competing with so many things that are vying for our students’ attention, which inextricably affects their perspective on education and learning. It’s ironic though that in another setting, some students actually used the dictionary in “secret”; they apologized for using it when I took notice. In their justification, I can identify a certain sense of self-imposed expectation that they should have known how to use the particular word. Thus, there were some fear and love surrounding that expectation. Which is greater between the two emotions? As teachers, one of our greatest tasks is to strike a balance between love and fear as it pertains to teaching and learning. Let’s have a discussion. How do you stay aware of what is going on in your classroom underneath the content input/output, pedagogical activities, behaviors, etc. The details are important. I used to journal.  What does conscious teaching mean to you?

 

 

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25 thoughts on “A new perspective on Teaching and Learning

  1. This is terrific Camose. It is funny you mentioned Google Translate. JUST yesterday I sent something to a friend that I wanted translated into Spanish and the intention of the text was not capture but the word-by-word translation which skewed totally what I wanted to say. I am an avid book reader and I am saddened that the generation we have not has taken to the easier way of defining and finding information. I so appreciate the fact that the black and white of classroom content should encapsulate the culture, surroundings, emphasis and environment of the student and teacher, as these and those you mention round out the richness that is education.

    Kudos to you!

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  2. I completed a 38 year teaching career in 2013, I am happy to see that young people such as you are thinking out of the box. Too often the art is replaced by the paper pushers with their testings and their one fits all theories. Go get them!!! Good Luck

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    1. Standardized testing is only one form of assessment of learning and often times it doesn’t tell us what we need to know about a child in order to teach him or her effectively. In my experience, I have found that observation, communication, accountability, and relationship are more reliable indicators.

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  3. I have been hearing for many years how outdated much of our education system is, so it’s good to have more dialog about how it can be improved. Keep it coming.

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  4. Camose: I just read your blog and was very impressed with it. I agree with a lot of your input such as teaching differently than you was taught and students should get away from Googling everything and get involved with using hard copies of dictionaries. I still use my Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. I recalled when I was in college taking math courses so many students depended on calculators and when their calculator broke and they had to resort to doing math with paper and pen they found themselves stuck. Camose, it has been my honor watching your educational journey from Essex County College till where you are today. Keep up the good work and looking for more of your posts.

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    1. Well, I didn’t start using a calculator until I was in college. I appreciate the fact that I can do mental math. Short term gratification does not give the learner the opportunity to own the information.

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  5. You definitely bring out many issues that need to be addressed. The best way to improve and make progress is to get these into the conversation. Great job!

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  6. First, let me applaud you for the courage of speaking up in relations to how our children are being educated in the schools today across the United States of America. I along with many others are concern about the way our students are been taught in schools. From the discussions and the complaints I heard, it seems obvious that the school system is outdated and needs overhauling. The question is why is this not happening? What is holding us back from this transformation that is so desperately needed? In regards to the comments about using hard copy dictionary and learning to calculate mentally, I believe that these are important traditional values that help in the mental development of the brain and should be taught to every student from the beginning, Of course, technology is important and this is where we are now, however, the two needs to be integrated in a manner that is beneficial to the students.

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    1. We need a marriage of traditions and modernization. The first ensures a strong pedagogical foundation while the latter ensures real time connection and engagement.

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  7. I understand that it may be sometimes hard to change from how we were taught versus how we teach our children, but, yes it is a necessity to rise to a compatible format of teaching with the changing times. I really praise you for knowing that so many different components are important to recognize when teaching our students today.
    Holistic teaching is a necessity. We must keep our children’s attention and retention by trying to understand the various factors that come into play in reference to the whole. It isn’t easy.
    Talking to your students, understanding their needs and knowing that they each are different but yet part of the whole will definitely make a difference. Get their input and introduce stimuli into the teaching environment which is either new or of sufficiently strong emotional intensity and you will immediately gain their attention. I think it is most important to keep your love and passion for teaching–the students will know and feel it.

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    1. Effective learning is holistic learning. Education is like a mirror one holds up to himself and others. The better we become as teachers and learners, the more we grow and evolve. This way we are better equipped to serve our society. Teaching and learning are tied inextricably to living.

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  8. Growing up as a young child i had very little use or respect for teachers but as i aged and matured my perspective on teachers changed. I stopped looking at them as my dictator in the classroom and started looking at them as individuals who were there to aide and help their students. In college many of my teachers became my closest friends. Even today after many years graduated from college I still stay in contact with them. Today they refer to me as a colleague. Many of my accomplishments I have been able to achieve today is linked directly to my teachers and they have taught me about life in and out of the classrooms. One of my favorite teachers was my English 2 professor. When writing essays on a topic my professor let the students know that in writing the essay we could disagree with her thoughts and beliefs as long as we can back it up with actual provocative thoughts. This style of teaching allow the students to grow and develop intellectually. Today my respect for teachers ranks up there with legislators and even the President of the United States.

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  9. Was it because your English professor gave you a chance to be an individual that he earned the “Favorite Teacher ” award? What changed your perspective from having “little use or respect for teachers” to seeing them as helpful individuals?

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    1. The main thing that influence my choice of labeling her my “Favorite Teacher” was at the end of the semester she recommended me for a honors class for the next semester. When the teacher denied me without knowing me or my work my teacher took it personal. I heard she got into a big discussion with the teacher stating if he is good enough to write speeches and give them before the state’s Governor and Commission of Higher Education he is sure good enough for your honors class. This was my first experience of having a teacher fight for me.

      Two people I charge with influencing my perspective on teachers are President Cary Israel and Dr. Pace. They helped me in ways words cannot measure in and out of the classroom. They taught me not to be afraid to be a leader and how to better motivate those working around and with me. Without them I doubt very seriously if i could have become the man I am today.

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      1. So, she defended you as a individual that is capable. In other words, she saw you..In essence, it is what everyone wants- to be seen. Both students and teachers need to be seen and heard. When I was a classroom teacher, more often than not I did not feel seen or heard. This is why we are having this discussion.

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  10. I really like this post because I find it so relevant. In our current day, there is a huge shift in focus on teaching social skills and also conflict resolution in the classroom. Cell phones take away from the spoken word. We are often texting and emailing people before we pick up the phone. In my opinion, both teachers and students alike are both guilty of this one.
    As much as technology is a tool in our classroom, we must guide students to not be dependent on technological tools. For example, I am sure there are many students that are no longer focused on learning to spell as much because they know they will be able to use spell-check . It is crucial that students do not loose the ability to communicate verbally and by paper in an efficient matter.

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  11. Yes.. the potential loss of the art of real communication is disheartened. Presentation projects and collaboration in group activities are ways to combat this potential problem.

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    1. Presentation projects and collaboration is a great tool in a teacher’s resource pool . It has many positive goals. It allows and many times forces shy and quiet people to come out of their isolation shell and be a part of the many and not one of the few. This concept was especially true in my academic life. I especially like the concept of when working in a group setting the groups grade is depended on each students involvement. I witnessed this concept applied successfully when I studied over in England. One of the positive lessons learned from this by the students is that each individual students perspective and ideas on any subject matter is just as important as any one else’s whether they are a constant A student or a wavering D student.

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  12. Exactly and no two people are the same when it come to their learning styles, which brings us to the next topic: How to learn effectively. These conversations in group activities allow students to see their learning styles. The most quiet student in a group setting may just be an introspective, intra-personal learner. See my next post!

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