Learning – my favourite topic. I love the mottos Learning can happen anywhere and A good teacher is also a good learner. But I will just put all my thoughts in order…
The Teacher As Learner
The best thing teachers can do for themselves and for their students as a consequence is keep on learning. About and through anything. What I have found fundamental to my learning and motivating myself are:
- Twitter. I never thought, when I first joined in 2009, what a great school that would be. I learn through other teachers who post links, from reading their blogs and from participating in a weekly chat English teachers have every Wednesday, ELTChat.
- Workshops and Seminars. I am very fortunate for the reason that here in Switzerland we always have something going on. I know it can be costly, but it is definitely worth it. I always learn something and come back super-motivated, especially if the workshop or seminar was a good one!
- Observing other teachers. You can learn a great deal from other educators, if you get the chance to sit in on their class. You can get great ideas, or even (and I hope this does not happen too often) learn from the mistakes they make.
For students, I am a great believer that learning can happen anywhere and sometimes even when we have not planned it!
- Hit the road, Jack! Last year I was working with my kiddos on plants and suddenly I thought: hey, why don’t we put on our jackets and go out? We have a cornfield nearby the school and the children got to see the plants, learn what a stalk is, where the corn they eat comes from and what happens after they cut off the corn. They still remember this lesson and keep asking when we can go outside again! Which reminds me, we should do it soon…
- Go ahead and use the tech! Students can learn a great deal from technology. Start a wiki or blog with them. Skype with other classrooms (numerous educators on Twitter have done this and the results are great! The kids love it and learn about other classes all around the world). Explore new apps. Books are fantastic resources of learning, but not the only thing kids can learn from.
- Try to visit libraries as frequently as you can. “My kids don’t read”, say some teachers. Have you provided them with the stimulus, if you have not got a library in class or the school? Let them roam through the aisles and you will see them picking up books on subjects they like (or a specific one if you are teaching a particular unit) and immediately taking them to tables…or even sitting on the floor! I love images like this.
Learning opportunities are great both for teachers and students. Classrooms become hubs of learning and knowledge!
And to close, I absolutely love what a great educator, David Deubelbeiss , says: When one teaches, two learn.