I was looking for a topic this week and decided to take a look at the articles from Professor Ransom’s comment from the previous week. In “It Will Change Education” Will Richardson writes “we are the learning experts (or at least we should be) in our communities.” I borrowed that phrase for my title because I think it ties in with something I’ve been ruminating about for a while now.
When Professor Ransom suggested the idea that with such information at students’ fingertips, teachers might not be the experts that they’d previously been perceived, it honestly scared me a little. If I’m not an expert to these kids, then what’s the point?
In this existential crisis, I realized that this might actually be a great opportunity for me to think about what kind of teacher I want to be. It means that I won’t have to be the teacher who lectures from the front of the classroom from a textbook. Homework doesn’t have to come from said textbook, which is how I remember the majority of my schooling.
And that’s when the panic really set it. I don’t know if I know how to be any other kind of teacher! I mean, I hear all the time how teachers just starting out often revert to the style they know best. So how can I learn to be the kind of teacher I want to be?
That’s when the phrase “learning expert” really struck me. What a great alternative for the word “teacher”. I could teach my students not just content but the best methods to learn. More importantly, helping them discover the methods that work for them individually. Which means that I have to become an expert in the ways that people learn. This teaching thing is a lot more complicated than I thought, but what a great challenge. To be able to look at a student and think, ‘How can I pull the best out of this individual?’
It seems to be that technology just may be affording us with ways of accommodating, encouraging, and hopefully even inspiring learners.