One of the best pieces of advice that I have heard as a teacher was “to be careful not to teach like you were taught.” That was easier said than done. After all, it worked for me and others. However, the time has come to recognize that the teacher is not the only source of information in the classroom. Students learn more than content in the classroom. The teachers also teach more than content. The teacher and the students’ personalities, values and belief systems affect the teaching and learning process. The environment including the advancement and accessibility of technology also play a role in the process.
I recalled as a French teacher in a particular setting, many students preferred Google Translation on their cellular device over the hard copy bilingual dictionary. I would have preferred that they used the dictionary. Why? I am one that values holistic learning. The dictionary is a rich valuable resource; it offers so much more than a translation- and in this case Google translation is sometimes out of context. I realize that it takes more time to look up a word in a dictionary/thesaurus versus Google Translation. My students seemed to value the instantaneous gratification that this platform offers. How do we reconcile the two- my desire for delayed holistic learning and technology endearment and sensible captivation? Well, there is the online dictionary.
The time has come to realize that as teachers we are competing with so many things that are vying for our students’ attention, which inextricably affects their perspective on education and learning. It’s ironic though that in another setting, some students actually used the dictionary in “secret”; they apologized for using it when I took notice. In their justification, I can identify a certain sense of self-imposed expectation that they should have known how to use the particular word. Thus, there were some fear and love surrounding that expectation. Which is greater between the two emotions? As teachers, one of our greatest tasks is to strike a balance between love and fear as it pertains to teaching and learning. Let’s have a discussion. How do you stay aware of what is going on in your classroom underneath the content input/output, pedagogical activities, behaviors, etc. The details are important. I used to journal. What does conscious teaching mean to you? How do you separate the philosophical and practical aspects of teaching? Can they be separated?