Foundations of Teaching for Learning (FTL) Part 1, Week 1, Lecture 1

I am enrolled in the Coursera course called Foundations of Teaching for Learning, Part I. This is an 8-part course that I will work through over the next several semesters. I plan to take 2 parts per semester, which will leave me finishing in Fall of 2015. The purpose of my taking this course is to improve my teaching skills so I will be a better teacher. I feel like I have a natural teacher’s mindset, but my skills are lacking because of lack of training. I do hope to improve over the course of this process.

Today’s lecture was just an introduction to the course, but there were three statements that make me think. They may be a bit paraphrased, but these are the gists of them:

Learning does not begin when you step into the classroom.

I agreed with this statement as soon as I heard it. If a student expects all his learning to occur within the four walls of a classroom, he will miss out on so much. The classroom is meant to introduce concepts, spur thinking, and then the students should go out of the classroom and apply what he has learned and investigate further. In my life, this takes the form of investigating a new idea, process, concept, etc, and then while learning about it, discover something else that I need to know and investigate it. That is sometimes an iterative process and sometimes linear, but it’s always self-driven.

Teaching does not produce learning. Teaching produces the conditions of learning.

I completely agree with this, as well. Especially since my wife is a teacher, I hear her say all the time, there’s nothing she can do if her students cross their arms and say, I’m not listening to you. She can only do so much, so her teaching has to create the conditions, but the student is responsible for learning.

How do I know what I think until I hear what I say?

This is interesting. Especially since I’m an introvert who doesn’t like to speak much, I think I agree with it. I can see the benefit of expressing something in orally, which the ear hears and then the brain process the information differently. If you just read something, you get part of it. If you just think something, you get part of it. But if you read it, say it, and hear it, then you get much more of it, I think. I am going to ponder this statement over the next few days and see what comes up.

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