Thursday, September 12, 2013

Learning From Each Other | September 6, 2013

Christine Profeta

As a child, my learning experiences consisted of parent/child, teacher/student and minister/Sunday school and catechism student. You listened, learned, and followed the rules. Occasionally you would misbehave or talk too much, you were corrected and returned to listening and learning. This learning experience taught respect and discipline. 

As an education major and later a Masters of Early Childhood student, the role of the teacher morphed into that of facilitator. A student exhibited critical thinking skills and was able to question the opinions of the teacher and the current text. Hence quality discussion ensued and varying opinions were challenged. This learning experience taught creativity and active learning. 

As an educator, I felt it my responsibility to mesh both philosophies into my teaching. A teacher must convey to students that their opinion matters and that an educator can make a mistake. This learning experience is the first step in capturing the hearts of students. 

As an educator, I learned many lessons from my first grade students. One January we were discussing Martin Luther King Jr. My students were listening and learning. A quality discussion was taking place, opinions were formed, and active learning was taking place. A little boy looked up at me in a moment of awareness and said, “I have brown skin.” This learning experience taught all of us the value of listening, respect, and love. 

In my opinion, the future definition of teacher and learner is clear. While my early learning experiences did not allow for creativity and challenge it did provide structure, respect, and discipline. In order to facilitate critical thinking and creativity these blocks must be in place. Not only do students need to respect teachers, they need to respect themselves. The role of learner and teacher are not separate they are mutual. The greatest joy for a teacher is to witness success, both in teaching and learning. Only when you mesh both philosophies can you learn from each other. This learning experience is the purist and the most joyful of all.