Do Teachers Need to Relearn How to Learn?

I understand that time and countless other responsibilities are often the hurdles for teachers to integrate more technology into their instruction, but that’s a topic for another time (Kathleen Morris has a great post about overcoming obstacles to tech integration.) What I’m wondering is whether we teachers know how to transfer our technological knowledge and use the Internet to actively seek answers to questions on our own. In other words, are we independent learners? (Article by Mr. Salsich. Jan 2nd, 2012)

If we expect our students to use “critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making” (ISTE student nets 4) and “apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes” (ISTE student nets 1.a), shouldn’t we be able to do the same as teachers? If we can’t apply these skills in our own learning, how can we teach our students to use them?

Besides the lack of time and/or motivation, I’m beginning to wonder if teachers really know how to learn new skills independently. We come from a system of education where everything was fed to us. As a student (even through my master’s degree), if I was told I needed to learn something there was a clear process I had to go through to learn it; sign up (and pay) for the right course with the available expert, buy some textbooks, go to class, follow directions, and collect my credits to show that I had learned it. Most PD follows a similar process (although greatly abbreviated).

Learners are no longer dependent on learning directly from an expert, the information is literally at their fingertips, they just need to know how to access it. And most important, learners of all ages need to be the drivers of their learning. Just like our students, teachers need to seek answers through active exploration. Again, if we are not independent learners, how can we expect our students to be? (Article by Mr. Salsich. Jan 2nd, 2012)

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1 Response to Do Teachers Need to Relearn How to Learn?

  1. I think a teacher’s credibility is rooted in that old phrase ‘lifelong learner’. I think it is something that needs to be visibly demonstrated to the students. Postgrad students bring in the experience from around the globe. We are privileged to be in a place to learn from them and them from us. The notion of staff development seems to suggest that there are periods of learning required for one’s own personal and professional progress. Geoff White (in his mid 80s) is the epitome of the teacher/learner. He turned up at the December Postgrad Design PV at LCC with his cards and was asking students, teachers anyone for their thoughts on which version worked best or how they could be improved. I think it is one reason behind his longevity – the constant pursuit of knowledge.

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