The Art of Teaching

Students learn by gathering pieces of information and compiling them together to form understanding. New information must then be linked to something we already know. Effective teaching introduces skills, and concepts for learners to contextualize. This context allows students to link and understand information to prior understanding.

It’s why a scripted curriculum, worksheet or a standardized pedagogy is rarely as effective.

Effective pedagogy demands that context be taken into account with not only what we teach, but how we teach. Policies that demand greater standardization without allowing teachers the freedom to contextualize and personalize learning are doing learning (specifically students) a serious disservice.

Finland allows its teachers some of the greatest degree of autonomy of many OECD countries? It is no coincidence that many of the world’s leading education reformers are doing the same.

Maybe Rita Pierson is being a little too simplistic in stating, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like,” but the premise is correct. Teachers must know their students, their environment, their likes and dislikes, their interests, and their issues. Being liked by students is a bonus: what is key is knowing your students well enough so you can craft the teaching. And in this environment, the skill of the teacher comes to the forefront. Teaching is not—as too many of our policymakers seem to think—merely about transferring content knowledge.

The skill of teaching is knowing your students and adapting your teaching to best meet their needs. It is done by introducing new information that is linked to prior information, scaffolded by students’ experiences and environment, and making contextually relevant.

 Caring relationships with teachers helps students build resilience. By fostering these relationships, we learn about students’ interests and goals, which are fuel for motivation.

How do teachers plan for this? They form relationships with their students, develop a personalized approach to teaching, and enhance learning. That’s the art of teaching.

Please comment…..I’d love to hear your reflections on the art of teaching.