Friday, March 19, 2010

The Master Learner

Master Learner (SMART)
Originally uploaded by
I teach a couple graduate level courses for teachers in our district. It's been a great opportunity for me to get my "message" of integrated technology out to more people and get to know more teachers across the district. Last night, during our SMART Boards for Instruction class, I overheard a teacher say that part of the reason she took the class is that she'd been teaching for 34 years and realized what she was doing, while it wasn't bad, wasn't "cutting it." She knew her instruction needed to change.
This morning, I was going through my Google Reader and came across
Will Richardson's "Teacher as Master's Leaners" post from a couple days ago. For whatever reason, his thoughts really hit home. As he says, content knowledge is important, but it's equally, if not more, important to model for students continual learning. Teachers need to give students skills to continue their learning once they exit the room. Social networking and web 2.0 tools give everyone that ability. The best way for students to learn is through modeling. One of the great lines in Will's post is
"What I want are master learners, not master teachers, learners who see my kids as their apprentices for learning."

I also love Chris Lehmann's line, which Will referenced, that "we don't teach subjects, we teach kids." Will adds: "We teach kids to learn." Will goes on to say:
"We can't teach kids to learn unless we are leaners ourselves."
But as someone who helps teachers integrate technology into their classroom, do I do a good enough job of modeling what I expect our teachers to do? I think I do an OK job of showing where I learn (Twitter, Diigo, Nings, etc.), but I'm not entirely convinced. It's a great opportunity for me to look in the mirror and model this with the learners in my class, so that they may model it for the learners in theirs.
I'd love to hear your thoughts...what do you do to ensure that those around you, or you are in charge of, learn? And continue the learning outside of your session, class, etc.?


Kristen Swanson said...

Thanks for this post. I enjoyed reading it. I think you are doing a good job showing that you are a continual learner-- hence your blog post! When I teach grad courses, I strive to help students create environments that do not end with the semester. Using things like Wikis, Google Reader, and Twitter help people to see that you are engaged in learning beyond what's "required." The more we model, the more people will see the value in it!

J Allen said...

Couldn't agree more. Thank you for stopping by!