DO YOU TEACH OR DO YOU EDUCATE?
The video "Do You Teach or Do You Educate? is a thought-inspiring one for anyone. The definitions of the words themselves give pause; words like show, induce, cause, information, fact, sound lifeless next to words like mentor, guide, and advisor, and should impact our reasoning for entering the education field.
I like the word guide as a description for an educator. You simply do the footwork in finding the most effective, research-based ways of presenting concepts, ideas, questions, projects, explorations, and problems to students, and guide them toward finding the solutions, answers, results and outcomes. You go further, if you are an EFFECTIVE educator, and give them the power and encouragement to follow through with analysis, synthesis, organization, implementation and presentation of their findings. This symbiotic relationship between teacher and students fosters their trust and enthusiasm, and makes the classroom a busy, exciting, productive place where students want to be and succeed.
I am going to let my students make mistakes-big ones, little ones- and then teach them how to figure out why and what to do to correct them. You always need to have that small scientist's voice in the back of your head asking, "How can we solve this problem? How can we get from A to C when B is absent? How do we use what we have to solve B? Where can we find more information that will lead us to a solution?" If you model your problem-solving skills, even choosing wrong answers to show how they can be a non-example to help learning, students will react and respond. Willingness to make mistakes on purpose and always knowing where and how to look to find solutions or paths to an answer are two important characteristics of an effective leader. "A good leader never asks his men to do something he is not himself willing to do", as the saying goes, and I heartily believe that is even more true for a teacher.
This video, with its poignant settings and pictures, uses powerful music and words to make its viewers ask themselves tough questions. The producer got his point across quite well; I think the rhetorical nature of his inquiry is well-placed and serves its purpose well. It's an asset to EDM 310's self-reflective provocation!
Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home!
After reading Mr. Johnson's posts and blog, Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home! , I realized that he writes using a sense of metaphor, when one thing or concept is used to represent or comment on another. In this case, his "pencils" represent technology, and the different impacts it has had on the classroom, teachers, students, administrators, and the public's opinion of its usability and benefit to the classroom.
His encounter with the long-named 'specialist' (given so to nudge at the antithesis of her 'knowledge') basically represents the administrators and school PR pushers whose career and success is based solely on standardized pencil-and-paper tests, and the resistance that this group holds to change; the teacher is the protagonist and the 'specialist' is the antagonist, each pushing his agenda. In this case, however, our protagonist has the students' best interest at heart, and is willing to do battle and present positives outcomes for his agenda,"We can change the paradigm". His desire to invite and include parents in the use of pencils at home with their children only exemplifies the protagonist's duty to be an effective teacher for his students.
I read Larry Ferlazzo's latest post, My Take on Recent Study Saying Home Computer Usage Can Lead To Lower Test Scores which Mr. Johnson's post was written in response to, and he outlines the results of a study of 150,000 5th-8th graders as the study group, and goes on to summarize the results and his opinion. Even he contends that technology is only as beneficial as the teacher's knowledge makes it. The old adage, "Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; TEACH a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime", certainly is comparable to the question of how educators can use computers and the world-wide-web to help our students and future citizens survive and thrive. Mr. Johnson's argument, in MY opinion, is that we must resist the old views, opinions, objections, cliches, and stereotype-addled policies to come up with many shades of gray (HOW can we effectively use technology to make it optimally beneficial?) to answer a black and white question (how can something children and adults have in the past misused, abused, misunderstood, feared, and used for entertainment be beneficial AT ALL??!!) of a somewhat colorblind audience.
There will always be promoters and protesters in the public and private school arenas. The most important factor in the equation is the student, and we must ask ourselves, "WHAT IS GOING TO BENEFIT AND PROMOTE THE INTELLECTUAL HEALTH AND GROWTH OF TODAY'S STUDENTS TO PREPARE THEM FOR TOMORROW'S WORLD?" I believe that Mr. Johnson has taken a serious and controversial subject and, using metaphorical language, presented it to readers as a simple means to a solution from a determined and open-minded writer, educator and thinker!