Transforming the understanding of teaching

What comes to mind when you hear the word studying? A vast majority of current students would probably say something along the lines of boring, takes too much energy, lack of motivation, unnecessary, too difficult… There is a general view of misinterpreted concepts ruling the thoughts of those who are studying, are planning to study or even those who are finished with their formal education.

Most of our lives, we are in classroom of some sort, learning and aspiring to be something “when we finish our schooling and grow up” and yet somehow we reluctantly go to the classes, with the agenda of “what will I do after this” usually on our minds.

Why is this all happening?

Christopher Emdin, a science advocate as well as an associate professor at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, states that the major issue regarding this problem is the lack of receptiveness. Students aren’t listening because the teachers are not using their abilities to transfer knowledge, but rather leave it in the room only to become stale after a while. In truth there is no reason why a regular person going to a university wouldn’t be 100 % devoted to their own areas of interest, if they were the ones who chose it in the first place. However, the other almost 80% of classes sometimes don’t even come close to that, even though they are necessary for a student to get his or her diploma.

Having that in mind, when it comes to teaching, its not only the material that the teacher should be trying to convey. Emdin says, that there is something all teachers should be taught: how to turn the attention to themselves, how to change their approach in order to accomplish the transfer of various pieces of information and still make it interesting and communicative.

Teaching the teachers

When it comes to numerous approaches used for teaching in general, there is one which is universal and necessary if ones goal is to successfully transfer the knowledge and that is: “being present”. Being present until the goal is met.

Over the course of several decades there have been many discussions on how education should change, so that the students will be more interested in learning. Some examples of “alternative teaching” are present in the schools such as Montessori, Summerhill and (Waldorf) Steiner. They all have receptiveness in common – in both the teachers and the students – because of the ways in which they interact with each other: by building up the energy in the interaction, having freedom of expression and limitless connection between the one who is there to learn and the one who has the knowledge prepared.

And just like those “creators” of educational alternatives, Christopher Emdin also points out several methods in which teachers can create magic in their classes. Check out our Talk of the Week below!


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