By Linda Fisher Thornton
This week I’m sharing some thoughts about teaching and learning that have been on my mind. It is hard for me to hear about students who are struggling with teachers or professors who try to trick them with impossible tests and quizzes – where students really do know the material, but everyone still does poorly and class grades have to be rounded up. This kind of behavior in the classroom leads to stress, frustration, lack of confidence, unfairly poor grades and other negative outcomes. It can happen, though, when the focus of teaching is in the wrong place.
In that light, here are some important things about teaching to keep in mind:
- Teaching isn’t just telling what you know. It’s helping others discover what they know.
- Teaching isn’t just directing people’s attention. It’s supporting their interests and helping them achieve their potential.
- Teaching isn’t about telling people what to think. It’s about teaching them how to think.
- Teaching isn’t just about learning activities. It’s also about inspiration.
- Teaching isn’t about “tricking” students with impossible tests and exams (and then rounding grades up because good grades weren’t achievable), it’s about setting students up for success, giving them clear milestones so they know where they are in the learning process, and building their confidence.
- Teaching isn’t just about preparing students for what they face now. It’s also about preparing them to live and lead in our globally connected future.
In other words, teaching is fundamentally about the long-term success and well-being of the student (and not about the teacher/professor), and that’s where the focus should always remain.
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