Education vs Regurgitation

Education vs Regurgitation

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.

5 thoughts on “Education vs Regurgitation

  1. July 27, 2014
    Hello Beth,
    I enjoyed reading your blog; it reminded me of myself when I first started teaching 10 years ago. I teach nursing students at the BSN level in a university setting, and girl let me tell you this is a challenge. Many of my students care more about what is happening in the up and coming weekend. But, I do have students who are very serious about their nursing and want to learn all that they can; these are the students that keep me encouraged about teaching and life-learning. These students have encourage me to such a degree, that I have started on my doctorate degree in adult education and higher learning. I have been in this program for about 3 years now, and I am starting to work on my prospectus, as I only have two courses to go. Hopefully, I should be completed with all my course work about this time next year. I still cannot believe that I have put myself through this, but I want to become the best educator that I am capable of becoming.

    Thank you for your blog, it was very encouraging,


  2. Jill,

    Congrats on nearing the end of the doctorate it is quite an accomplishment. Educators are truly eternal optimist, we get up every morning believing our students will learn and that we can make a difference. It is so true, it is the learners that we encounter on our way that inspire us to keep going.

  3. Hello Beth,

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog its very interesting to say the least. I enjoyed reading this specific blog because it caught my eye as to when you stated “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”. As a college instructor if I would see an adult college student being fidgety and was always asking questions I would think of these students as being annoying and I would just ignore them. Your blog has brought a different view point for me that maybe these adult college students are just wanting to learn more in which they are out of the box thinkers, connectors, imaginative, impulsive and curious about things in general.

    Beth when you had to shift or rethink your role and teaching practice. How did you go about this and how did you use the ever growing abundance of internet resources that made this easier for you? How did you engage the mobile technology as well to tackle this issue?

    Thanks Dayna Urquhart

  4. Hi Dayna,

    I think the biggest change in my thinking was realizing the students did not need the knowledge I possessed but my experience. When I realized I was more guide, mentor and partner in the learning process I was able to be much more flexible in my instructional practices and expectations. As a result many of my students progressed further then originally planned for in the old instructional practices. Technology allowed me individualize the learning experience. It allowed me to provide multiple means of access to content and ideas and my students a variety of ways to demonstrate their understanding.

  5. This post was very interesting to me. It made me think about how we need to embrace all of our students because you never know what they are capable of. Some of these students who we disregard as “fidgety” are the ones who want to learn never even crossed my mind. This post was really amazing to me.

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