This week, I continued my search for poor teaching habits and tools. I came across a blog that gave examples of things we are doing that are stifling teachers. The very example fit pretty well with our study of personal learning this week. It was about how teachers don’t try to learn from their colleagues.
The best way to learn and implement new teaching techniques is to observe and collaborate with your fellow teachers. This could be your colleagues that teach in the same school building, school district, or even someone that you follow on social media. What matters is that you try to learn.
One of the biggest issues I’ve noticed throughout my school career is that teachers are stuck in their ways. They do not want anyone telling them that they’re teaching methods are outdated. They don’t want to take anyone’s advice or heaven forbid admit they could be in the wrong. The worst offenders are the older teachers. Young teachers bring in new insight and methods that a veteran teacher could learn from. Instead, young teachers’ creativity and new methods are put down by older teachers. Young teachers, being disheartened, take on the old, outdated methods of teaching and the cycle continues. What should be happening is that the old teachers should be learning from the new teachers and the new teachers should be collaborating with each other.
Watching the occasional video doesn’t cover it either. There is so much more to learning than watching a few minutes of a video or going to the teacher inservices. Teachers need to branch out and learn from each other within their schools and from teachers in their personal learning network. Teachers should also be figuring out how to use new technology in their schools to create these networks.
When teachers use outdated methods and refuse to change their ways, it is not just them that suffer. The students are the ones who come up short because their teachers are too stubborn or lazy to put in the effort to learn and grow. The good teachers also suffer because they don’t have a whole lot of options for branching out within their own school, so they have to turn to a PLN on Twitter or to learning new methods from a blog. They can’t just run down the hall and sit in on another teacher’s class to observe their teaching techniques. All in all, a blatant refusal to collaborate and learn from your colleagues causes everyone to suffer.
Photo CC: Ken Whytock