I had the opportunity to eat lunch with author Heidi Jacobs today at ASCD. As with my previous posts this week, I have lots of takeaways that I know will inevitably rattle around in my head for days and weeks to come. In full disclosure, I have not read her books or followed her blog with any sort of regularity. However, I did pick up her book today and do plan on diving in for further reflection after my conversation with her.
The first comment that she made is something that I whole heartedly agree with, “The relationship between teacher and student has changed.” I don’t think this is something radical or new, yet many are not teaching or leading schools with a pedagogy that supports this belief. If we know that this relationship has changed, then why are our schools not changing to reflect this? It is very possible that this comes from a place of ignorance and fear. Teacher and school leaders may want to change and some may even have the knowledge to do it. Yet, they lack the follow through and plan of action to get it done. As a tweet earlier in the conference from Gawande’s talk stated, “The knowledge to change exists but is not currently being applied correctly.” Do you have the knowledge needed to change? Are you changing?
To build upon the changing relationship between teachers and students, those roles have and need to change as well. We all know that the teacher is the not the sole holder of information in the classroom. Though, how many classrooms are still operating under the old pedagogy of the teacher as the keeper of the knowledge? The definition of a student is changing…so too must the definition of a teacher. Going hand in hand with that, is if we want our students to be true learners, we as teachers must be models of learning ourselves.
I anticipate I will post more follow up thoughts as I dig further into my notes from lunch as well as her book. To attempt another metaphor, we need to not only know which train we need to get on…but actually get on the train. If we have the knowledge, we need to put that knowledge into action.