Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Best Teaching Method

In Which of the learning methods yield the best results? from Kobus van Wyk , kvanwyk discusses what we can learn from Aesop’s fable: The Fox and the Cat.

“The moral of the story: find a method that works best for you, and don’t waste time debating the merits of the options.”

This actually had me thinking about my blog, my teaching strategies that I suggest and my opinions on education. I have gotten a few emails that have criticized me for sharing things that I would recommend others to do. They feel that this wouldn’t work in their classroom and that I live in a fairy tale land. I am glad that they feel they can share their feelings with me and I’m thankful that my blog has created a conversation so please continue sending me emails.

If you are reading my blog, please remember that I am suggesting things that have been successful for me. I am sharing things that have worked in my classroom and that I would do again. These have worked best for me but I’m not saying that they are the only things that work. I am not saying that all of the things would work for you the same way they did for me.

But remember that these things might not work for you. You need to take in account your own personality as well as the personalities and abilities of your students. Maybe your administration would not be supportive with this activity.

Sometimes what I suggest would not work in the situation that you are in but maybe you could adapt it so it could work. If you think that what I am saying would not work for you, maybe you could think of how you could change it so it could work. Maybe my ideas could be a foundation for you to start with.

I hope you find teaching strategies and methods that work for you. Don’t be afraid to try new things. But don’t waste time debating over whether one is better than another until you have tried it or you will waste time and energy instead of providing instruction. You never know, maybe the one you thought wouldn’t work actually turns out to be successful!

Original image: 'Eliot and the Year 6 students' http://www.flickr.com/photos/30265340@N00/300115429 by: Brian Yap (葉)

13 comments:

Laura said...

One of the most powerful things I ever read was Parker Palmer's work on authenticity. In one of his writings he invites people to think about their three favourite teachers at school. He then points to their differences - some might have been strict and dour, whereas others you liked for their affection, some had silent classrooms and others noisy.Overall, he argues, what matters is that they were *authentic*. Above all else you knew WHO that teacher was and that they believed in what they were doing to the core.
BUT tips are super-useful because they get you thinking about how to integrate new ideas into your practice. So thank you for your blog :)

Mathew said...

Yes, not everything works for everyone. But it's amazing that so many teachers never consult with anyone else about what's working for others and just assume that their own way is the best.

Kobus van Wyk said...

You are so right! Too much valuable time is spent debating which method is the best, or which tool is superior. It is like arguing about what is the better tool: a hammer or a saw. It's horses for courses (or is it courses for horses?). Thanks for your perspective on this - I am linking back from my posting so that my readers could also benefit from your expressions.

juniza said...

Hi Pat, your teaching methods is actually works on my class as well. Keep sharing because it is inspiring those who are new in teaching.

loonyhiker said...

@Laura: You are so right! Different teachers may have an effect on students at different phases of their lives. Authenticity is so important!

loonyhiker said...

@Mathew: Yes, it is that tunnel vision that drives me crazy!

loonyhiker said...

@Kobus: I love when our posts create a conversation! Thanks for inspiring me!

loonyhiker said...

@juniza: I'm so glad that you find my blog helpful. That was my main purpose when I began writing!

Alycia said...

I'm currently a student teacher, soon to graduate, but not before I'm out on two long pracs.
I've recently discovered your blog and am so grateful for it. Practical application of the theoretical bull we learn at uni.
I've already passed it to a few friends and think I'll become a deep reader very quickly, and an obsessed reader, returning to all your old posts!
Thanks!

loonyhiker said...

@Alycia: I'm so glad you are finding this blog helpful. That is exactly the purpose of this blog. I hope to share with others things that I've experienced through teaching. Theories that you learn at the univ. are a necessary foundation to get you started though. Using that basis, at least it helps you get started in the classroom. After that, you need to take those theories and temper it with your own personality and that of your students also. If I can help you in any way, please let me know. Feel free to ask questions, and I'll answer them the best way that I can.

Michael Jensen said...

hello..

I have many ideas about teaching, about 100 pages of them writen down, and 80% of my teaching experience in circus arts. I am in mechanical engineering, with a bachelors in physics. just some back-ground.

I have a question for all you teachers out there that I really hope some of you will find time to answer. my e-mail is mikethe1wheelnut(at)gmail.com if you care to answer. :)

my question is this: how can you avoid getting sick and tired of teaching the same subject, again and again, year after year? each year you will have new students, and you will have to go over the same material again, and respond to many of the same questions. After a while, all students must seem the same to you, and totally stupid because they seem in-capable of learning (because the classes of each year ask many of the same questions as the classes of the previous year). this is the reason why I stopped teaching unicycling. After teaching the same material to group of students after group of students, all the challenge of the thing was gone, and the interest along with it. it is a shame, because at the begining I loved it, and if things had worked out so that I had continued working with my original students, as well as adding others, we would be doing incredible things now.

your thoughts?

MIGEL MAKAL said...

Teachers are very vital to one's life. Every teacher has a positive effect to any learner

MIGEL MAKAL said...

The level of delivery for any teacher depends on the learner and the time of teaching. Successful teachers have to be dynamic