Reflections and quotes about teaching

Thanks for those who have sent thoughts about teaching!
Brenda Firman from Northern Manitoba wrote:

The theme of the 1971 Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of Indian and Eskimo Education held in Yellowknife, NWT was What Education – For What.  Jim Was-hee was the key-note speaker.

No man [sic] can reveal to you aught, but that which already lies half asleep in the downing of your knowledge.  The teacher who walks among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.  If he is indeed wise, he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind. (quoted by Jim Was-hee)

Dacia Reid wrote:

On my desk I have a stone that says “Learn something new….then teach someone.” For me it simplifies everything I do and when I feel discouraged because I don’t feel I am getting through to enough people I remember this philosophy. It’s about making a difference in one’s person’s life and then having them make a difference in someone else’s.

Judy wrote:

When the student is ready the teacher will appear.  Unknown

My colleague from 1980, Nairne Culver wrote from the Okanagan,

I’ve been away from teaching for 7 months – retired from my job with Okanagan College in February, 2011.  But teaching and learning is never far from my mind.  My metaphor for teaching and learning stems from the same place as one of my favorite hobbies.

Gardening.

Preparing the soil, planting seeds and caring for the tender young plants until they are strong enough to survive with less of my presence and attention.

People of course are much more complex.  But still preparing the soil and planting the seed is like offering an idea and finding out how that might be interesting to the learner.

Teaching requires careful listening, learning what motivates the learner, what the learner already knows and then working with the learner to acquire new information and integrate this into their understanding of the concept. ‘Hands on’ to use the new information is best used soon after, and regularly along with new information.

I believe that learners feel empowered when the teacher openly states that although the teacher may have some degree of expertise that is useful as part of the teaching and learning process, the teacher is also a learner in this process, and the learner is also a teacher.  This invites active participation and encourages thoughtful interaction and discussion.  The teacher can learn about characteristics of the learner, then use this information to structure the learning process to meet the learners style of learning.  Of course this is more easily done with a small group of students.

Working with larger groups offers more challenges, yet learning activities can be offered in different ways so the various styles of learning can be covered several times over within a day.  When learners are in a ‘workshop’ setting, once they have finished the workshop and are back to work (the hands on part of the process); often there isn’t follow up to discuss application of new or expanded concepts.  I think this is a problem, and I’ve encountered this many times over the years.  Follow up would probably entail considerably more effort and cost, but I think it would be very beneficial to not only the individual learners, but for the people these learners work with their employers.

Thanks Nairne, and happy teaching in retirement!

Theresa Dutko, a Fellow in Thanatology wrote:

Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.”   ~ William Butler Yeats

In my laptop there are a few more quotes that we received, but that seem to have been stolen by the  Easter bunny, the laundry sock thief or the computer cookie monster…. will add them when I find them!

(Accessing email from webmail has a few disadvantages!|)

I am now off to learn from my great colleagues at the CHPCA conference!  The rain and wind arrived to NFLD during the night, so we get to see a bit of “weather”, hopefully some “big weather” as one of the lighthouse guides called it.

Happy back to school!

Kath

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