Sunday, October 30, 2011
Blog Post #10
For the first part of our blog assignment this week, we had to watch the video Do You Teach or Do You Educate? In this video, we are presented with the question of what kind of teacher we will be. We are asked whether we will be someone who teaches or someone who educates our students. This is a very thoughtful video, and it really made me think about what the differences are between the verbs teach and educate.
The first term the video talks about is "teach". It gives several definitions of the word, and the one that struck me as very surprising said, "induce by example or punishment to do or not to do something." I never though about teaching in that manner, but now I see how that definition could apply. I know that sometimes, rather than knowing why I am learning something, or understanding the context behind it, I have had to "learn" facts. The teacher never explained why what I learned was the correct thing, but it was either learn what I was taught, or get a bad grade.
The second term covered in the video is "educate". One of the definitions was, "one who gives intellectual, moral and social instruction". I really like this definition. I think that to be an educator you have to do so much more than present facts. Educators give their students the knowledge and tools to take the information they are given and apply it to their lives. They don't teach their student a fact, they teach them why something is and how it is relevant to them. I hope to be more than just a teacher, I hope to be the kind of educator that does what the video says: mentors, guides, and inspires. There is an amazing quote by Peter Brougham at the end of this video. It says, "Education makes people easy to lead, but hard to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave."
The second assignment for this week was Tom Johnson's Don't Let Them Take The Pencils Home. In this post Mr. Johnson tells the story of how he was told by Gertrude, a school administrator, that he should not letting his students take their pencils home. They would likely misuse them, and it would probably lead to lower test scores. This post is based on an article that Mr. Johnson read by Larry Ferlazzo, which talked about the results of a study that said children who use computers at home will have lower test scores. Tom's pencil analogy was very similar to the scenario of Mr. Ferlazzo's study, in that these were low income students whose parents did not know how to use the tool the children were bringing home. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Ferlazzo both gave arguments for giving parents training and teaching them how to help their children use their tools.
I am not a fan of standardized tests. I think they are a horrible representation of student ability and having to "teach the test" really takes away teachers' freedom to teach "outside the box". How sad that administrations are more worried about the reflections of those scores on their schools than they are about what their students are learning. If done with the appropriate training, there could be enormous benefits to letting children use computers at home. If not, at least let them take the pencils home.