Where do you stand on the Learning vs Teaching debate?
If I was to ask you to conjure up an image of a great teacher, you might cast your mind back to someone from your school or university days. Someone who inspired you. Someone you respected. Someone you worked hard for. Someone you looked forward to learning from.
Having asked that question to quite a few people, a theme emerges around those characteristics. So, does it follow that a great teacher must possess certain qualities? Friendly? Approachable? Authoritative? Engaging? Clear?
Whilst you're enjoying the opportunity to reminisce about that great teacher of yours (?!), take a second to ask yourself if there is a chance that the teacher you thought of as great might be seen by someone else as somewhat less able, less inspiring? Assuming the person you thought of had the qualities that we identified earlier, how could that be?
Perhaps the qualities we first assumed were necessary are really just a form of window dressing to the real quality. The quality which I think we should identity is that of us, as the learner, being willing to learn from the teaching. A great teacher is able to find a way to connect with us so that we learn and by doing so, they become memorable. The question is, what does that connection look like? Is it the same for everyone? How can we measure success?
As an example, let’s assume you love tomatoes. If I was to tell you that I really don't like tomatoes, you might find that strange because you love them, but I'd be surprised if you challenged my preference by telling me that “I'm wrong”, based on the fact that you find tomatoes the most delicious and refreshing fruit available. So it is with teachers. One person's idea of a guru may be another person's idea of a waste of time. Neither person is right or wrong, but there is a correlation between success in learning and connecting with the teacher and their teaching. Being open to connecting is the vital first step towards success.
At Coracle we believe that learning is more important than teaching and so we strive to find ways of using technology that allow our learners to find the connection they need with the learning materials to give them the best chance of achieving their goal of learning. We aim to develop technologies that enable open and social learning, as these are the keys to unlocking the potential for learners to learn.