Recently, I had one of my closest friends and colleagues over Mike Proft (@mrproftelkmound for all you Twitter lovers!). We were discussing how teaching has changed...even since we began a short 8 years ago. We continued to talk about how teaching is turning into more like guiding. We conversed about the need for our students to take charge of their own learning. For example, I had students find a Southeast Asian country that violated human rights (finding a problem). They then had to research and find a solution to the problem (finding a solution). The students had to work collaboratively on their problem and their solution. I guided along the way.
The next day I got an email from the local university (UWEC Go Blugolds!) about my next student teacher placement this fall. It was a typical e-mail about the logistics of having a student teacher. I am so excited and blessed to have the opportunity to have another student teacher. This is a fairly new experience for me that I intend to have for future years.
By now you’re probably telling yourself what the heck this crazy guy is just writing about random stories…You’re kinda right, I am a bit crazy, but without these random stories I wouldn’t have a blog post to write this week.
Here’s my connection. We often talk about how important it is to guide our students in our classrooms and fail forward (allowing students to fail, but teaching them to learn from their mistakes and try it again). I believe this is of the utmost importance. With this stated, I believe we need to encourage this same concept with our student teachers. If we don’t, how will our change from teaching to guiding really take place? The answer, it won’t. Our change will not last for future generations. What can we do about it? Here are some things that I try to accomplish with my student teachers:
Daniel Pink discusses the importance of developing the right side of our brain in his book A Whole New Mind. I believe that our society may be changing, and we need to adapt to that with our students. I think the best thing we can do is to develop their creativity in problem solving. What better way to do this through collaboration and projects where they need to find a problem and research a solution?
We need to continue having the discussion on how to do this with our students in our classroom. We need to start having the conversation on ways we can encourage this with our student teachers, so this practice can continue for future generations. I not only want the best for my children, but I want the best for your children too. After all, it’s all about the kids!