How to be a Master Learner as a Teacher 101

So as a soon-to-be teacher, I need all the help I can get, and honestly I will take anything I can get my hands on. In my methods class, we have to read at least three professional development books and then report on them later. One of the books I so carelessly chose was Will Richardson’s “From Master Teacher to Master Learner”. Now when I said carelessly I didn’t really mean in a bad way, I just meant that it was small and it looked interesting so that is why I chose it. I didn’t really take a good look at the core of it so I really had no idea what I was reading. So I decided to take a closer look.

This book talks a lot about the technological changes that is happening in the world today and how teachers need to adapt to it to create a better learning environment for all students. So many of today’s classrooms are still stuck in the old ways of teaching and it kind of hurts the students’ chances of becoming familiar with the world they will soon be tossed into. We want them to thrive and be successful as adults with all the right teachings we give to them. If that is indeed true, then why are we, as teachers, still teaching in the stone age? I know for a fact that most teachers do not teach with smart boards and some do not even know certain computer programs outside their school’s own grading system. How are we supposed to teach to the best of our abilities if we do not know the technology ourselves? This book has great tips to become the master learner instead of the master teacher.

The chapter that really caught my attention was “The toolkit for teachers as modern learners”. The only reason I know about this chapter is because one of my teachers already knows a lot about this chapter. Just ask her! It talks about the different means of communication through technology like twitter, feedly, blogging, evernote and more. I soon as I saw these I was like wow this looks so familiar. This particular teacher of mine is way ahead of the game when it comes to this stuff because it is used in almost every single class she teaches. She works it into her lessons and gets her students involved with this technology as assignments. When she first told us to use twitter as part of class, I was like you are crazy! But actually it gets me more involved with the other students in my class and I can see what they are all thinking about a certain assignment. It’s actually a nifty tool!

Another concept this book talks about that I found interesting to say the least is “Teachers as Unlearners”. This concept has six key points to follow it and they are

We are the smartest people in the room. This is indeed not true. There are always going to be people, especially students, who are smarter than you. Teachers are always learning from their students. These kids are young and full of life and probably a little more creative than most adults. They learn to live and they use that to their full advantage. These students are learning not just in the classroom, but outside the classroom as well. They are learning from other adults and other cultures. They are experiencing life to the fullest and it shows when they speak.

We have to organize everything. This one is huge because it talks about letting loose of the reigns a little bit and letting the students control the classroom. They need to learn how to control their own learning as it applies to them. We do not need to control every aspect of every lesson plan to have a successful teaching career. There is more than one path of learning that can be successful.

We can do without technology. Some argue this is true and others are completely against it. Most teachers who have been at this a while, received their degree without a complete use for technology. They would say it is unnecessary and more of a nuisance than a solution. But that isn’t true. The world outside of the classroom is changing and schools need to change with it. If not, our kids will not know how to connect with the world outside of school.

Everything kids do must be quantifiable. This point really gets to me because as a student, I perform my best when I am using my creative mind and other skills I have developed over the years. I personally do not think I show any kind of interest or improvement in myself when I do the standard test with pen and paper. I like to take what I’ve learned and apply it to different kinds of projects or writings. Schools today do not really let students use those skills to show what they have learned. They need to use those skills more and more in order or else they will not know what they are in a few years.

We should only ask questions either with a definite answer or with an answer we know. NO! Our kids need to be able to use their brains along with skills to test answers and come up with a new answer. They have brains for a reason! They need to use them and the tools they know. And our job as teachers is to ensure they use that by asking the right kind of questions.

Curriculum is the main driver of learning. Yes and no on this one. Yes curriculum is important but maybe not to every single student. Teachers need to bring up certain parts only when they are needed by the student. This brings a new role for the teacher and it better prepares the students for the real world.

  

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