Friday, August 08, 2008

Teaching and learning

I like reading Scot McKnight mainly for his book discussions. One of the books he's looking at is What the Best College Teachers Do. Chp 2 was intriguing. I guess I do have a bit of the teacher in me, and in any case, there's some interesting stuff about teaching and learning.

Main point: we learn in context.

1. Knowledge is constructed, not received: as we put things together on the basis of experience, so do students. So, teaching is helping students construct models on the basis of what they already know.

2. Mental models change slowly: good teachers create environments where change can take place progressively. Facts need to be learned as a student learns to use those facts.

3. Questions are crucial: good teachers stimulate students to discover and ask and answer their own questions. Our questions, we must remember, are not always the questions of others. Often our questions are not theirs!

4. Caring is crucial: good teachers know students must care about the discipline if they want those students to develop and grow and learn. Good teachers get students to care about the discipline.

Good teachers know the history of their discipline - my tutor used to encourage us to think critically about how our discipline evolved and why our syllabus is structured the way it is.

Good q to ask: Are we teaching a "subject" to students or teaching "students" a subject?

Good stuff not just in classroom contexts but in personal work and helping each other think through our respective worldviews.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good discussion about teaching! You may want to see "Teaching and Helping Students Think and Do Better" on amazon.

4:25 pm  

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