As a brand new teacher I believed I could go thorough my scripted lesson plan, and point like a conductor to select students who I could guide through to the desired out comes. I believe that if they played along, paid attention and did the work I provided they would all learn and be successful on the tests. If we all just followed the lesson all would be well.
But…. there was always the fidgety kids in the back who constantly interrupted, raised their hand and asked all sorts of awkward questions. These questions would derail my perfectly scripted lesson. As I “matured” as a teacher I felt successful if I could avoid these questions, or stifle them. It was a good thing, I mastered classroom management. I was so naive.
I was seeking students who were good at regurgitation. If my test results were good, then I was a good teacher. As I continued to grow as a teacher I began to really appreciated the fidgety kids. They were into learning, they were out of the box thinkers, connectors, imaginative, impulsive and curious. These were the students who were going to push the envelop, test the limits, create, invent and change in the world.
These student were not passively waiting to be taught but eagerly trying to educate themselves. They were active, enthusiastic learners stuck in a passive, measured learning environment. These students needed to learn the skills required to be life long learners. I had to rethink my role and shift my teaching practice. I could still teach the content I was required to but I needed to do it in a way that focused on the skills of a life long learner in an active student centered way. The advent of the mobile technology and ever growing abundance of internet resources has made this easier then ever.
We can tailor our instruction to individual students allowing then to benefit from their strengths and gird up their weaknesses. We can provide them with the skills to continually learn and adapt to the ever changing world of work, information and technology.