About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The best teachers don't give you the answers

My family likes to watch the new series "Glee", usually on Sunday mornings on the internet. Since they need to get up early in the morning for school, the 9-10 PM time period is a bit late.

I think what has struck a cord for them in this program is that they bring up issues that are relevant to all high school students, often in a humorous way. In this week's episode, the teacher for the Glee Club has been suspended and cannot accompany the group to the Sectional competition. The students are upset as they complain that they won't be able to do well without their faculty adviser. However, he replies that he has every confidence they can do it without him. "The best teachers don't give you the answers."

I was surprised when my daughter whole heartedly agreed with this. She goes to an alternative school which is project based learning, using groups. "That's how it is in my school," she commented to her brother, who also agree with her. Perhaps there is hope for the future of education if society begins to understand this.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā koe Virginia

I could extend the message that you proffer so well in your post and claim that "the best pedagogy is not giving the answers".

Use of this principle when teaching process is so important. In the elearning resource linked in this comment, the answers are of the processes, NOT the answers to the associated questions.

Some students who depend on 'getting the answer' to every question act out a factual memory game, instead of learning the process that permits an easier and far more useful learning pathway.

Catchya later

V Yonkers said...

How true. However, I think many teachers find it difficult not to give "the right answer". Part of finding the answers is the tension that and work that is created from going through the process.

Another problem with giving the right answer is that you teach students there is just one correct answer or way of finding the correct answer.

From the teacher's stand point, they are not doing their job because a) the student may feel frustrated and give up, b) the student may get an answer that does not meet the content requirements of the curriculum, c) the learning that took place in the student finding the answer was not teacher directed...so what is the need of a teacher, or d) that higher order thinking needed to find the answer is hard to measure.

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