Saturday, April 09, 2011

Teach less doesn't mean teach less

When we take the idea of "Teach Less, Learn More" too literally, we get the idea that there is some kind of reduction in the curriculum and that what schools were once meant to teach now becomes the burden of parents, and as a result, "slack" teaching staff.

Actually "Teach Less" doesn't mean teach less, in the sense of less content, less curriculum, i.e., less quantity. What it does mean is to stop being so full of ourselves and teaching the way teachers think they should teach, but instead look at the specific needs of our learners and teach the way our learners learn best.

The call is out for teachers to be less pedantic, less didactic and to put an end to filling our classroom time with inane teacher talk (a sin I'm quite guilty of, ha ha), and learn ourselves to be quiet, listen to what our students have to offer, give space for them to work. In other words, we teach not as authoritative, top-down "Teachers" but be fellow learners with our students, co-involved in constructing a community of learning.

This philosophy may be more difficult at some of the younger levels. It's hard to be a fellow learner if your fellow students are a bunch of 40 juvenile monkeys going stir-crazy in a crammed classroom eight hours a day. And with kids, it's important to show them who's Boss and instill in them a healthy respect (fear works too, apparently) for learning.

But at higher levels, it becomes necessary for the kids to start learning on their own. That's the time to let go and apply TLLM -- gradually.

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