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How do you teach?

Posted by Texas Education on March 15, 2009

I must say, my new found love, Twitter, has exposed me to many new exciting opportunities, friends, and most importantly, knowledge. I was reading up on blogs, one of the keys, it said, to get more traffic, is to blog on something where people can come away with gaining knowledge of something. Isn’t that what it should be about anyway? Well, as always, I digress. One of my new found twitterers, and teacher, has an awesome blog, and today she writes about,Off the Beaten Path. But, not only did I learn something new, I found out a bit about myself. Kelly writes,

Think about it…What are teachers asked to do? We have a scripted agenda that requires that every student see thirteen cities (or grade levels) in 13 years. As we pass through each city, we point things out to students that are on the list of approved sites. It’s “drive by learning” at its fullest.

Ok, sure, true! She goes on…

But wait…Have you ever been on one of those tours? You sit in a bus all day long. They let you out for a little lunch (in a designated location) and some recess (maybe a guided museum tour or some shopping). You see it all, and you experience nothing. If you stray off the prescribed path to follow a sound or smell that interests you, you are chided by the tour guide. Heaven forbid you return to the bus a minute later than the agenda states because “we just won’t make it to our next stop on time.” When you get home from one of these trips, what emotional and sensory connections have you made? Have you created authentic memories of your experience or have you simply created a slideshow of stagnant photo clips?

But, then she makes you think,

I don’t know about you, but…The year(s) that I get to have students on my bus tour of a new grade and curriculum will not be a time to strap on their seat belts and watch out the window. I don’t want students’ time with me to be merely a checklist of sites to see. I want them to get off the bus, wander down a side street, stop and have a local dish, and chat with the natives. I don’t want memories to simply be a photo. They should include a sensory immersion into curriculum and culture, one that is rich in authentic and self-constructed meaning. I don’t even mind if we get lost once in a while, for it is in those un-scripted moments that we learn the most about the place in which we are immersed (and have the most fun). In each year of schooling, just as in foreign travel, there are things to see, people to meet, and new languages to learn. This cannot be achieved from the inside of a bus.

I always thought I would be in trouble not teaching the TEKS, and of course, I believe I’m right, but it’s sooo easy for me to venture off the beaten path, when teaching…surprised?


One Response to “How do you teach?”

  1. kellyhines said

    I love that the post has made you think. I’ve written a bit of a follow up. I hope you’ll check it out. I guess the key is that you aren’t changing the destination, you are just changing the experience for the kids!

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