Musings about Teaching from Students in TEE 276

Here are a few quotes/observations made by the TEE 276 students as they reflect on teaching via classroom visits, teaching opportunities, class lectures, and readings.

Lacey noticed while visiting a class that:

When teachers give the students clear instructions, provide clear and reachable goals, and check frequently for progress, classroom time can be used efficiently.

Very true Lacey.

Trenton noted an observation about group and collaborative settings that I found insightful:

We’ve all heard it before: “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” Mathematically speaking this isn’t possible, of course, but the principle is easily observed outside of mathematical principle. One can easily see the non-existent images formed in empty space by the black shapes. I personally find that there is greater significance yet, as we see this principle frequently at play in human interaction. For example, a sports team can accomplish more than a group acting as individuals ever could. I believe this principle holds true in the classroom as well. If a classroom can be a cohesive unit, where students work together to aid one another, more learning will be accomplished on the whole than would have been if the students (and teacher) had acted as individuals.

I liked Steven’s summary of exponential learning – and it’s key characteristic of love:

Love is the key. It is a gateway to enjoying a class, taking the time and effort to learn, and relating well to others. Love is vital for exponential growth. Instead of hitting a peak of learning which then gradual declines over time, exponential growth cultivates learning and teaching. This is closely related to God’s ability to increase, and it helps Him grow in glory when we seek to become like Him.

I also enjoyed Michelle’s observation about teaching being a practice for everyone:

This past Thursday I did my first observation in an actual school (an 8th grade wood shop class). And I get to go again to a different school tomorrow. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t life-changing or anything. It reminded me that school is actually pretty normal, and that you don’t have to be this crazy excellent people-person to be a teacher.

Finally, I appreciated Phil’s summary and anecdote of the teacher/learner relationship:

Today in discussing exponential learning, I felt like it was something unattainable at first. I know that in the past, I tend to learn things and then forget about them when I learned something new, and I assumed that was how it works, so I was interested in the idea of every new thing learned building off of what I know, rather than replacing it. This seems like a useful skill as a student and something that will be invaluable to know as a teacher…A basic example of this is when I have learned to play a song on guitar. I start by breaking it down into small parts that I learn before sticking them together. In addition to that, I play it along with a recording or other instruments to find where it fits in, then finally I teach it to the other people in our band so that they can play it too. Once they can play it back to me, I know that they learned it and it is like the whole teacher/learner idea; where I have learned something, taught it to someone, and had them teach it back to me. I know this works because I remember those songs a lot longer than ones I learn and play on my own.