Teaching VS Learning How To Learn
Teaching is not about what teachers know, but what students learn. As a former professor of
mine has said, it's not good enough to present students with basketfuls of facts, but to be a
"provoker of learning." His words sum up the essence of my intentions for my own students:
"My goal was to make them qualified to learn on their own for the rest of their lives. Most
students come in wanting you to give them baskets of facts. I advised them instead to ask the right
question and assess the evidence that answers the question....If I get up in front of students and
announce great pieces of wisdom, nothing has happened other than showing what I know."
The measure of good teaching is what students have learned, and their ability to use the things
they have learned "to learn on their own for the rest of their lives." *
That you are reading this is an indicator of your interest in the progress and well-being of your
student in my classes.
It is you who have brought this young person so far in life, and your intention to follow through
to get them to adulthood in as safe and sane a manner possible.
It is you who support what makes our little school the place it is- a caring and concerned
environment, though the extraordinary effort and sacrifice you make may not be recognized now.
It is your devotion, not to give your kid all they want, but that which is good, right, and useful,
despite the personal inconvenience it creates for yourself.
Recognition of the above interest, care, concern, devotion, sacrifice, et.al. will probably not be
immediately gratified, but will come in time, if done genuinely, and I think it is that intention to teach
each one to learn how to learn which will serve them for the rest of their lives.
* Vanguard magazine, volume 5 number 4, Spring 2005 c 2005 Vanguard University of Southern
The entire article can be acquired as a PDF at: www.vanguard.edu/alumni/index.aspx?doc_id=26