Teaching and learning need to remain inextricably connected.
A few weeks ago I had the honor of being placed in the songwriter’s spotlight at the Atlantic Beach (FL) Songwriters’ Night. I was humbled to get the invitation and once I was sitting on stage that feeling magnified. I didn’t have stage fright or anything such as that. From my vantage point that evening I was able to see some very accomplished local songwriters in the audience. As I told them that night, “I am honored but I am not a songwriter. I do write songs but that does not make me a songwriter. I play guitar. That does not make me a guitar player.”
As I’ve written on this blog before, just because I use the bathroom a number of times each day that does not make me a plumber.
Someone who writes is not necessarily a writer. Truman Capote’s words ring in my ears: “That’s not writing. That’s typing.”
You can apply the sentiment to (just about) any calling.
Take teaching for instance.
When I first started teaching at the college level, a veteran professor decided to give me some unsolicited advice on what (he thought) makes a good teacher. He told me with a very straight face, “Steve, my job is to profess! The students’ job is to write, or not, what I say.”
A colleague in Texas shared a spot-on article with me this week about the need to make sure our teaching and learning remain inextricably connected. Just because I have tossed it does not mean my students have caught it. Telling does not equate to learning.
My veteran colleague whose job it was “to profess” was knowledgeable but did he teach? As in, did he assist in learning? Perhaps. But more is needed than fact dispensing. The author of the above article presented the case as such:
Learning can occur without a teacher,
but teaching in the absence of learners is an
activity without justification….
Above all, a teacher connects with students in more ways than an academic manner such as providing personal validation, a sense of relevance, and nurturing of self-efficacy. That requires a talented and skillful teacher.
For the poor instructors, I say, “That’s not teaching. That’s talking.”
But hope springs eternal in the breast of this veteran teacher. No matter what calling you find yourself in (health care, hospitality, sales, writing, handyman, nanny or ….) an effective mentoring program can help move the talkers and posers to guides and connectors. Apprentices need the guidance of the experienced.
They deserve it and so do those you serve.
Video recommendation for the week:
I will leave you with this video that speaks to teaching the child. It holds for adults as they, too, need encouragement. They, too, come in assorted sizes, shapes and skill-sets. Yes, the subject matter matters but the nurturing and the connecting matter as well.
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.