Thursday, June 23, 2011

Learning about Teaching

Question: What is one effective technique to use when learning from your students?

Answer/Quote: “One thing that’s became  clear to me in over 3 decades of professoring is that I can learn a lot from my students…if I can just manage to keep my mouth shut a good share of the time. It didn’t take me long to realize that I could learn a lot: what took a while was managing to keep my mouth shut and to listen. We professors are, by nature, a chatty lot, and we are, by tradition, given to lengthy pontification.”

Comment: Guilty! If I were teaching a class of pre-service teachers, I would probably put this quote in plain sight. Listening to students is one way to help improve one’s teaching. Of course, you can “listen” in a variety of ways. One of the best is to develop “learning journals,” in which students jot down thoughts and questions on the day’s lesson. It won’t take you long to read them and the questions they raise could go a long way toward clearing up what is confusing in the lesson, course, etc. Another way to “listen” is to have students summarize on an index card in one sentence the main idea of the day’s lesson with a quick response to it. If the students have trouble formulating it, or responding to it, then the day’s lesson and/or purpose is probably not clear. RayS.

Title: “Language Confounded.” Wayne Otto. Journal of Reading (November 1993), 236-239.

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