Monday, September 21, 2015

Learn and Teach

I am not sure why this statement goes all over me.
"If the student did not learn it. You did not teach it."

John Walkup and I tweeted a bit about it today. Interesting stuff.

We teach the material. Often two or three times, two or three different ways. Students learn the material. They regurgitate it on a test. Often they do not retain the information. They do not care, it is not that important.

Examples in real life;
There is a check box in Groupwise that blocks email from coming to the inbox. I do not remember where to go for that checkbox. Every time a teacher asks "how do you do this task?" I have to look it up on the internet and share that information with them. I have learned the task over and over. I know how to do it. I simply do not care to keep that information in my head.

I blow glass. I can make a wicked nice Christmas ornament. For about three months each year I make ornaments. I know how to make an ornament. How much glass to gather, how much color to add, how to let it twist in the heat. how to shape it, how to blow it, how to jack it. Just how much heat is needed and when. How to knock it off and make the loop for the top. I know these things. I can teach these things. And yet every year I have to relearn how to make a Christmas ornament. In the nine months in between I have forgotten the nuances of ornament making. The first five or six created are learning how to do it again. Was I taught the material, Yes. Is it of relevance, Yes. Is there rigor involved, Yes. Is knowledge from other glass blowing projects transferred, Yes. But yet, I must relearn the process every year.

Dr. Walkup ( made the point.
The content has to be important to remember. The student was taught the information. Best practices were used in the teaching process. Summative and formative assessment were integral parts of the process. Teachers taught, students learned. Neurons fired and dendrites were created. Cognitive learning strategies were examined and in place in the classroom. Everything was done right. But the student did not retain the information. They learned it, it was taught but it was not remembered. And really, why should it have been?

Which then brings us to this article, a link from Dr. Walkup's webpage. A very good read. 

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