The following is a list of questions worth really considering.
- What is school for?
- What is the teacher’s role?
What does it mean to teach? What part do educators play in a students life? When I think of classic education from the Ancient Greeks and Romans, I don’t exactly think of multiple choice. Socrates had his method, and I’m sure other strategies were implemented, but I’m also certain that at no point were students forced to fill out scantron sheets. The teacher is there to support the student’s goals — not the other way around. Just because I, the teacher, thinks you should learn subjects and predicates, doesn’t mean you do.
The student’s goals for themselves matter. Have we forgotten that? Human beings are creatures motivated by autonomy, mastery, and purpose (as Daniel Pink pointed out in his motivation TED talk). We want to have agency over our learning, we are driven by the idea of mastery, and we want to serve a purpose in this world. If you are following through with your own plan, you’ll be more likely to care about the learning process. A teacher, then, is there to ask and listen. What do you want to know? What skills would you like to have? What interests you? What motivates you? And if the student doesn’t know, you try some things out and explore the possibilities together.
- What do I want to learn? Am I learning it?
- What do I believe in?
Easy. I believe in self-directed learning.
- What are my skills? Where did I learn those skills?