Kenitra - In his book The Lords of Discipline, Pat Conroy, a New York Times best-selling novelist and a leading figure of late-20th century American literature wrote:
Kenitra – In his book The Lords of Discipline, Pat Conroy, a New York Times best-selling novelist and a leading figure of late-20th century American literature wrote:
“Great teachers had great personalities and that the greatest teachers had outrageous personalities […] Teaching is the art of theft: of knowing what to steal and from whom. Bad teachers do not touch me; the great ones never leave me. They ride with me during all my days, and I pass on to others what they have imparted to me. I exchange their handy gifts with strangers on trains, and I pretend the gifts are mine. I steal from the great teachers, and the truly wonderful thing about them is they would applaud my theft, laugh at the thought of it, realizing they had taught me their larcenous skills well.”
No one can argue against the fact that the old ideas teachers used to rely on in their teaching are now off the chain and can no longer serve the benefit of ultimate learning. The field of teaching witnesses new theories and puts so many others on the bench of classrooms. Of course, the academic debate over education covers new topics and brings forth specific questions: How do we teach? How do we learn? Who gets ignored? How do teachers act when they are in the hallways or a schoolyard? How do staff react when a problem strikes? Do we panic? Keep calm? Or simply avoid the whole thing and keep the issues unsolved? In what ways do students connect to their schoolmates, parents, or communities? Do we solve a raising problem collaboratively or leave it to those in charge? What controls the rate of acquisition? What is channeled through teachers’s personalities and characters? Admittedly, It is difficult to hold rigidly to specific answers or assumptions. However, the fact is that schools raise quite different concerns now than before.
Conventionally, every student strives in one way or another to achieve his or her fullest personal, spiritual, mental, social, and physical potential. This remains the ultimate goal of learning. The question is: how? How do students learn?
Nowadays, students pick up messages and harvest knowledge through their personal experiences within schools; through the social norms and values teachers openly and implicitly promote and advocate. We want our students to be competitive and purposeful about their learning. Teaching is about having some kind of impact on students’ personal and academic growth. With their hygiene, body language, eye contact, style, sense of humor, and their moral obligation, teachers may transmit more valuable messages to their students. The way they act may inspire their students to be life-long learners. To these ends, educators now should show more interest in the study of the many hidden elements having impact on students’ learning experiences, like the attitude students pick up indirectly in the classrooms.
Of course, the pressure of change is building. This field now reaches beyond campuses and relates to more disciplines than before. The quality and efficacy of teaching and learning become highly influenced by subtle elements: personality, leadership, aesthetics and school climate. My belief is that academic success is eventually interwoven with personal and professional development. This is why teachers should be very passionate about developing their career in the field of education, teaching particularly. This passion should be gauged from their continuous search for personal growth; from the fact that they should strongly look forward to seizing any opportunity to improve and advance their competencies, qualities, and teaching experiences.
Schools are now different. Who can think of the world without thinking of clicks and buttons? A flip or a switch now opens a whole range of things. Staying ignorant of this reality serves no benefit at all. Cellular phones, Geographical Positioning Systems, Touch Screens and so on are offering new sources of information and new sorts and definitions of knowledge. In education, these technological revolutions are enforcing new attitudes towards teaching and are making learning a more inventive and tech-based experience. So, teachers’s role has shifted from being the providers of the information to that of a navigator; to that of a learning facilitator relying most on the ability to build social skills and advance a perpetual search for information. The fact that the use of technology is expanding on a wide scale is just a big part of the attraction, though.
The thinking of teaching today is also the thinking of diversity; of the fact that our classrooms are made of different people. In a broader sense, the demographic of schools now witnesses different ethnicities, cultures, and societal orientations. In these challenging times, teachers should act upon the urgent need for every one’s effort and contribution to the enhancement of mutual respect, the promotion of the ideas and values of acceptance and tolerance, and to the appreciation of multiculturalism and diversity.
Even at the technical level, students are different. You have visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic learners, and also those who are naturally drawn to combining two or more styles or modes. Every child is unique in his or own methodology of learning. Our duty as teachers is to make sure that the right of each student to be educated, autonomous, and freethinking is highly respected and recognized. Basically, the facilitation of learning should be for all. Yes, for all. Still, it takes much more time for change to take place and to translate theory into practice. Teachers usually get confused over what strategy comes first. Jerome Seymour Bruner has a possible way out.
A true, solid, and articulable philosophy of teaching may be held true in the suggestions and ideas of Jerome Seymour Bruner. With his influence on constructive learning and his focus on social and cognitive aspects of knowledge, this great American psychologist has made learning a shared experience between teachers and students in which both build on previous learning experiences and cooperatively construct knowledge about new ideas and concepts. Every thing is channeled through an active process of investigation.
Bruner suggests, “the instructor, should encourage students to construct hypotheses, make decisions, and discover principles by themselves; in effect, they should present information in such a way that students may build new knowledge on existing knowledge to facilitate a recursive learning process.” Burners’ five academic elements, known as the Five E’s, engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate, have made learning a transitional stage where both teachers and students work together for the benefit of all, where both lead a righteous path for true learning. To what extent is Bruner’s philosophy true or reliable? Again, the magic word and answer, of course, is teachers’ charisma. It is their ability to inspire and lead. Normally, great teachers are those who take their children into new possibilities of success, those who set them free to feel the spirit of an investigator in what they do.
I have learned a great deal about tailoring my teaching since my visit of 2013 to Chicago-based Turath Institute for Arab Arts and Culture, an academic center that offers Arabic language classes at the prestigious University of Chicago’s Center for Middle East Studies. Their Theme Development strategy, by which both the teacher and students engage freely and openly in the discussion of the topic while harvesting new lexical elements, marks a strong influence over my teaching philosophy.
I learned from that experience that true learning occurs when both teachers and students engage totally in the creation of a supportive, positive and welcoming classroom climate and feel free to articulate their intelligences and learning styles. My belief is that students learn best given the opportunity to be independent and free thinkers and act upon their natural curiosity. Equally, my belief is that teachers teach best by being compassionate and dedicated to working with students in a fun and exciting environment and bringing enthusiasm and passion to their teaching. Bruner did! It is ok to steal from him. I did!
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