Thursday, July 9, 2015

What's most important - Teaching or Learning?

Over the past twenty years that I've been in education I think it's fair to say that the focus has been pretty much on the teaching side of things, not so much the learning side of things. Perhaps this is because we can really only truly control the teaching. I believe that learning occurs in the brain and therefore, I am unable to get inside the brains of the learners I work with. What then can I control? Quite a bit really; classroom environment, giving feedback,  using learner voice and giving choice and so on. As teachers we have plenty that we can control and over my time in education we have focused a lot on these things. A lot of money and time and effort, blood, sweat and tears have gone into the teaching of many different learning areas.

I'm wondering if we need to focus on learning, as opposed to teaching. Perhaps rather than teaching strategies it is learning strategies that need attention. I've worked with countless teachers who create wonderful conditions for their learners and despite everything, some learners just don't make (necessary) progress with their learning.
There's a bit of attention being given to how the brain works and we're getting better at talking with learners about how they learn best. I wonder if we need to further our work in understanding what effective learning strategies are, rather than effective teaching strategies.

I welcome your thoughts and ideas.

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Is school just preparation for life?