ASCD part four: Changing Relationships

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.


Anonymous said...

I really like the discussion that the Heath brothers add to this topic. Teachers know they need to change, it is just that change is hard. The knowing-doing gap is evidenT in education . Just like I know I should exercise and not have another Philly Cheesesteak, sometimes I don't do this.


AngelaQ said...

I just had a conversation about the very same ideas with my 13 year old daughter. I have always been a big proponent of letting the students have a voice in how we do things and after the conversation with her, it is evermore apparent that change needs to happen quickly. If the change doesn't happen, we are going to have a whole generation of kids who go through school simply going through the motions, because they have to, not because they want to or are learning what THEY NEED TO LEARN.

Authentic conversations must occur between all stakeholders-parents, teachers, admin, students, the community. Then they need to take action.

And change, even on a small scale, within your own classroom, is better than nothing. BUT, it is sometimes scary. Teachers, myself included, are sometimes scared to attempt change on our own, for fear of not being supported.

Tony said...

There is so much to reflect on here but the bottom line is that the relationship between teacher and student has changed and its incumbent upon us, as educators, to embrace that change and grow due to that change. Let's not view the change as a hurdle; instead, view as an opportunity to learn! Everyone in a school building should fluidly function as a teacher and learner at some point during the day - principal, teachers, staff, students, parents, etc!

- @Cantiague_Lead

Will Richardson said...

So, what if every teacher made it a point to ask one big question of their students that they themselves didn't know the answer to? That would be a great way to begin to shift to the co-learner "let's figure this out together" stance in the classroom.

audhilly said...

Relationship hasn't changed so much as has been recognized. I think the ideal student/teacher relationship is universal constant and has always been this... only thing that changes is tools and modalities change. Everyone is teacher everyone is student.. always.