Learning Opportunities

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

In this post I’d written: “Good teaching is about creating the opportunity for learning to happen.” Christopher responded with this in his comment:

Teaching is about telling the story. Yes, I agree that a teacher creates an opportunity for learning. A large part of that (especially for a history teacher) is telling the story in such a way that the students start to learn without even realizing they are.

If teaching is about providing opportunities then we can deapen the argument. If good teaching creates opportunities for learning, then:

1. All questions that relate to learning should be followed by questions.

In some instances, the lit teacher might provide the definition of metaphor then offer some examples. If a student is asked to demonstrate their understanding of metaphor and returns the same examples earlier provided then the submission doesn’t really demonstrate. The rule is to generate original or independent understanding of the concept.

2. Question number 1 above should not be restricted to the classroom square.

One of the frustrating parts of teaching has to do with the attitudes students bring to the classroom about how learning happens and their role in the process. The classroom is a luxury for most people. It can also be a privilege. Yet for others it’s a priority, because without it they won’t make the goal. Some don’t need it; they will make their way regardless. For me the classroom is a big circle and a continuum. I don’t care why a student is in a class. They will all be responded to with inquiry.

3. There are indeed dumb questions.

When’s paper 1 due? Should we study the poem before we discuss it? Do we have to read the syllabus? Will the journal be evaluated? I’ve seen too many people run with the opportunities they’ve been given to start answering questions now. Here’s to you. You know who you are, and you know who you will be.

This is why a game is a good teacher. Level 2 needs level 1. In a hypertext, 2 links mean 2 paths and the choice will lead to a consequence. Story and consequence. Good one Christopher.

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