Education has undergone a radical change during the last few decades due to the radical change in the learning process itself. We often equate learning with the students eating readymade meals we serve them; had that been true, each student would eventually assimilate all there is to know and we would be knee-deep in “A” students. A more modern example would be copying data from one memory card to another resulting in an accurate replica of all. Reality suggests otherwise, so where does the truth lie?
Teaching and learning do not always align. Our current belief system will shape our behavior; therefore, if the teachers only focus on gathering the ingredients for executing the perfect presentation of the meal, they would be delivering a bland dish that is easily forgotten. Just like cooking, the flavor is all about being informed of the palette of those who will be ingesting the meal and not the gratification of the chef. Today, teaching is no longer about checking off of to-do lists and having the best-executed presentations. This extravaganza and almost circus-like theme of running a classroom fails to intimidate, impress or educate students.
We should all be aware that teaching is not always learning, and this rift clearly implicates that educators are unaware of this chasm between the two. Perhaps it’s our egos as experienced educators that makes it difficult to admit we need to change our strategies and that it is up to us to evolve. We always lecture them about the importance of becoming life-long learners, but we stand fierce defending our now archaic mantra instead of learning new prayers.
Could it be we try to gratify ourselves by allotting more than our share of credit? Even when toddlers, our children exhibit a phenomenal capability for learning as they independently learn seemingly rudimentary skills such as walking and eating without any specific instructions. As they grow older, they master their parents’ language and learn to properly express themselves. Note their parents are by no means qualified educators and yet they impart vital skills and knowledge to them. Then what is it that when they arrive at the desks?
Riddle me this: how can students learn how to speak a language yet fail to express themselves in writing? Why can they be eloquent speakers and fail grammar tests? The only discrepancy is the source of information between the parents and the teachers and subsequently the delivery method. If we reflect on the source of any of our acquired skills, they were the ultimate reward of diligence, practice and personal effort and never as passive recipients of information. The moment we acquire this laser focus on the students, we can let go of our throne and allow the true kings and queens to lead the way.