Tag Archives: learning

Who educates whom?

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Video games, YouTube, a movie, or a book? What will the student choose?

Any teacher worth their salt will tell you straight up that she’s learned as much from her students as they have from her.

But, every teacher will concede that learning has become more than just a challenge.

I have two children and I’ve taught thousands.

So, when I began teaching, I wanted to be the teacher that I’d want for my own children. I wanted to be someone who cares about students and who will ensure students learn as much as possible about the subject matter.

I so naively thought, How hard could it be?

I found out.

It’s never as simple as it could be.

Looking at the world we live in today, education feels more like a battleground for a teacher than the simple act of opening a book.

For students, it’s no longer an avenue to learning as much as a road block.

Students can’t sit still and, when they do, they lose focus so quickly that a vigilant teacher hammers out questions within a minute of reading a paragraph let alone a passage.

And, if the problem was only with the students, it might be easier to turn around, but the difficulties are compounded by overworked parents who are just as addicted to electronics as their children are and oftentimes clueless about the damage electronic devices do to students who have to go to school and read mountains of information in order to graduate.

It would be nice.

It would be nice to be able to take a usb and insert it into students’ hard drives (if they had one in their brain) in order to transfer the information so that they could then take that and create or perform new tasks from that point on.

We aren’t there yet. And, really, do we want that? I don’t know.

I do know that I tell students that I can’t do that. They have to open the book, open the document, visit the website, and read.

I’m their least favorite teacher.

I know this.

I’m fine with it.

But, it is a challenge. So, I take them to the movies.

Take them to the movies.

Of course, these movies are inside their heads. I use the information already uploaded to their limitless hard drives and give them something to connect to.

No, it doesn’t work right away. I reconnect at the beginning of each week, especially after long weekends like this one and forget about how hard it is to connect after winter break and then spring break.

I do it anyway.

We talk about where movies come from. We talk about how they begin.

From books, from a written word, from an idea, from an education.

But, it’s still not that simple.

Students get excited. They fantasize. They proclaim. They set goals. Then, they go home.

At home they are met with iPhones, iPads, desktops, laptops, televisions, movies, YouTube, apps, apps, and more apps.

Parents are tired and stare at the same thing.

So, who educates whom?

To meet teachers just introduces parents to someone who will attempt to use technology in order to bypass the distractions that every student must face this year.

Teachers from all backgrounds and ethnicities will plunge full-force into the curriculum deemed correct by the state and departments.

But, who will educate whom?

Will students teach teachers or will teachers teach students?

It really is a conundrum if there’s no exchange of power. At the core of learning is the ability to ingest information but not to just regurgitate it. If the teacher can truly spark the desire to learn in any student, then the student needs to be able to return the spark with a fire that can’t be put out the minute he or she enters a home.

The learning needs to continue, whether that’s answering questions about science, mathematics, or about a novel or an article read online. The student then needs to be able to then create something new, write an essay, a story, or create a robotic arm.

All of this requires focus and inevitably demands freedom from distractions.

So what can teachers learn from students?

Everything.

They are smarter than anyone gives them credit for.

They actually have access to way too much information.

So, knowing just these two things, makes teachers the perfect avenue to guide them. And, if parents and teacher actually worked together, they could influence children more than they ever imagined.

Who holds the power?

Students will teach parents and teachers by default. The interaction makes it so. However, instead of raging on about the damn electronics, how about giving them power over their devices.

Teach them that the devices are just tools to get what they want. But, then, they would need to know what they want.

That’s where teachers find their power. Our job really is that simple and, yet, more difficult than ever.

Our power lies in showing students their own power.

You see, they think it’s in their devices. Many students don’t really think about the fact that humans made these devices. They don’t think about why they made them.

So, when it comes right down to it, teachers need to understand that empowering students through conversations full of questions and debate in every subject in every grade level is the key to conquering what feels like a black hole of endless distractions.

What have you taught the students in your life?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/educate/”>Educate</a&gt;

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A Carousel of Spanish

One of the beauties of being married to a Hispanic man is that I’ve gotten to learn about his culture through his eyes.

I had grown up in Miami before I met him so Spanish was all around me. Many of my friends were Cuban, but they wanted to be “American” and most of them were already losing their handle on their language, creating what we know now as Spanglish.

He, on the other hand, came from Venezuela, which at the time was nothing like what you see on the news now, but there was enough violence that moving to the United States was a dream come true for his family who had seen victims of shootings on the street and who had been robbed of their gifts for Christmas.

His father is a journalist and was offered a job with a major news organization so they took the opportunity and ended up in New York.

I met him after he’d moved to Miami because his father was working at El Nuevo Herald by then.

And, after all of the years of living in Miami, studying Spanish and hearing Spanish, I couldn’t speak it.

But, he introduced me to the Telenovela: A wickedly colorful version of what we “Americans” call Soap Operas.

I had seen my friend’s grandparents watching them but the crying and screaming freaked me out.

Until he showed me “Carrusel de Ninos,” a telenovela about children who attend school and their relationships with each other. It was the children’s carousel.

It was simple enough that I could understand what was happening and hear the Spanish language delivered by children.

Within the confines of this little school, you would laugh and cry and the language would live and breathe inside of you.

There were the rich and the poor. There were the outcasts and the popular kids. There were the mean and the nice kids. Everything related to you and yet you learned about their culture also.

My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, showed me it because it was a good show, not because he wanted me to learn the language.

I watched it for the same reason.

So, when the thought occurred to me that I could actually learn how to speak Spanish from this, it didn’t feel like I had to work very hard at it.

The children expressed themselves with their bodies and expressions as much as through the language itself.

How Did It Change My Approach to Spanish?

When I ordered food, I would ask for the item in Spanish more often.

“Dos empanadas de carne por favor.”

When I listened to Spanish I understood more.

Sientete aqui really became Sit here but I didn’t need to stop and translate it into English like so many have to do.

Mostly, though, I just felt at ease with the language.

Por qué siempre hacemos aprendizaje tan difícil.

So, I ask you: Why do we make learning so difficult?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/carousel/”>Carousel</a&gt;