Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Roles for Teachers and Students

My Web 2.0 class has been discussing how technology has been changing the way we teach. It is fostering great discussions.  I have felt for a long time that the teacher’s role in the classroom should be to get out of the way. Although that is easier said than done. The first time students went to another student for help with poetry, I thought to myself, "What am I? Chopped Liver?"  And I am a teacher who loves independent learners. I believe teachers should be a guide in students’ learning path, not the driving force. Teachers should be someone to help them navigate their way through problems. Most importantly, teachers should allow students to fail at times.  The greatest inventions came from failure.  Many of our students only look at how many they get right, not how they arrived at the solution. I know in my own learning, those things I learned on my own (making web sites, for example) I felt a great deal of pride and satisfaction in, even if everything wasn’t perfect.

Obviously, a teacher has to manage their classroom and keep control of situations. It doesn’t mean that the teacher does all the work and the students sit back and listen. Students need to be active learners and that means that the teacher needs to step back and let learning happen. Having student mentors or experts in the classroom can be a valuable resource. I have found that pointing out those students who can teach the others something enhances what the students learn. If I teach it, they continually ask questions and want me to solve their problems. If students are teaching and a problem arises, the students take ownership of the solution. Soon, there will be several students all working to figure out the answer. And then, they don’t just tell each other what to do, they show the others. And that, is real learning!

On a side note, I "taught" my class about blogging today. Really, I showed them the Edublogs teacher challenge that got me started. I really stressed working through each challenge and practicing throughout the summer. This way, they will be more comfortable  teaching their students about blogging come fall. What advice would you give these new bloggers?

1 comment:

  1. Came across this link this morning and thought of you. Maybe it will be helpful??