Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Challenge: Experience and Depth

"The only source of knowledge is experience."
-Albert Einstein

Yes- modeling is an important part of teaching.  Students often need to see the example, expectation, or process to support their exploration and practice.  However, students' time spent experiencing the learning for themselves, including making mistakes and asking questions, should far outweigh the 'teaching.'

Reflect on your typical class lesson.  How much time is spent on instruction and modeling?  How much time is spent on meaningful, supported, engaging learning by the students?

Shifting to student-ownership and experiential learning can be uncomfortable for teachers.  At first, it may feel as though you won't be able to cover the 'necessary' breadth of topics.  (I get it... I was a math teacher.)  So, we must first acknowledge that 'teaching' a topic and having students practice once or twice does not equate to learning or retention.     Agreed?  

If yes, then let it go (sing the Frozen chorus) and dive deep into facilitating learning.  Work with colleagues, do research, and plan thoroughly and thoughtfully.  If planned well, your student-centered learning experiences will result in real, retained knowledge, and... bonus... students will likely develop authentic answers for the age-old question, "Why do I have to learn this?"

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