What did you learn today?
David Warlick often begins his talks with something new he has learned that day. He frequently shares these learnings on his blog as well.
Every day I try to follow his example and think carefully about all the new things I have learned.
But sometimes we need to UNlearn before we can really see the need to learn something new.
A very wise AQ instructor once suggested that without even realizing it, we (teachers) often revert to “delivering content” basically the same way day in and day out, regardless of the audience – and often in exactly the same way we were taught in school.
When I started to examine my teaching practice, I realized that this was true. She challenged me to shake up my routine, to collaborate on ideas with other teachers, to focus on the needs of the learners rather than my perception of how things should be done.
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I realized that my teaching style had been influenced more by how I was taught in school than by what I learned when I took my B.Ed.
The foundation of a teacher’s knowledge and competence comes from a teacher education program. But does Ontario’s teacher education system influence prospective teachers’ behaviour and thinking?
Do teacher-candidates change their practice as a result of their teacher education program, or do they default to the methods used during their own education?
Do the years of being part of the education system have more of an effect on practice than the teacher training program?
Student teachers arrive with views of teaching and learning, developed during their own time in school, that can distort their new ideas of learning during teachers’ college.
Research has demonstrated that the effect of teacher education on changing the prior beliefs and learning of student teachers is weak (Tryggvason 2009).
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But teachers now have to teach in ways that they themselves were not taught. Currently, as we consider 21st Century skills and the pace of change, there are more and more demands on teachers and what society expects them to accomplish.
In Finland, teacher educators use reflective and critical thinking and the introduction of a variety of new and useful teaching strategies helps new teachers to question their current thinking and adapt new methodologies.
Teacher education in Finland is being moved into research universities, which reflects the understanding that the training of teachers should be done in conjunction with innovation in other areas. This type of setting also assists Finland in attracting some of the best international minds in teacher education.
I’ve started to think more about what I believe to be true vs. what I know to be true. How many of my ideas about learning need to be challenged and unlearned? How do we catalyze deep conversations about practice that challenge our default methods?
What is it that I need to unlearn today?
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Learning, UnLearning and ReLearning
Hargreaves, A. (2000): Four Ages of Professionalism and Professional Learning, Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 6:2, 151-182
Kosunen, T & A. Mikkola (2002): Building a Science of Teaching: How objectives and reality meet in Finnish teacher education, European Journal of Teacher Education, 25:2-3, 135-150
Tucker, M. (2012). Teacher quality: What’s wrong with U.S. strategy?. Educational Leadership, 69(4), 42-46
Tryggvason, Marja-Terttu (2009). Why is Finnish teacher education successful? Some goals Finnish teacher educators have for their teaching. European Journal of Teacher Education, 32(4), 369-382