Teaching teachers is fun but challenging …

For the last three months I have been working at Sydney University each Tuesday. I’ve been running seminars for the #EDMT5500 course, Introduction to Teaching and Learning – kinda mental, huh? I’ll admit that it has been a really challenging experience for me. Not because the content of what I have to teach is difficult of foreign to me, but simply because I have only two hours a week with these awesome people who have chosen to be teachers and I feel it simply isn’t enough time to get to know them. I mean, I’ve tried really hard to get to know their names and how they learn (super important to me as an educator) and to also cram into that time everything that I think a new teacher should know and be able to do.

Like most teachers (I hope), I believe that learning through doing is more powerful than learning through listening. I’ve done my best to have my students engage actively in the types of activities and learning experiences that I’d like to see them create for their students. But it is a challenge to not stand up the front and just talk about my experience as a teacher. You see, these guys are super excited to have a practising teacher in the room with them for two hours a week. They have so many questions about teaching and learning (of course I don’t know all of the answers), that at times we just fall into semi-casual discussions about my experiences and my beliefs. That last bit is the rub, of course … when I’m up the front and they are all asking questions, it’s hard not to believe that my ideas and opinions are the most important, the more right. I think that’s symptomatic of the ‘sage on the stage’ experience – feeling superior because of our location within the room and the attention we garner. This is problematic in high schools but it’s down-right dangerous in universities.

Anyway, apart from that little bit of self-criticism, I think that overall my experience has been super positive. Mostly I’ve just been skimming the weekly notes/PPT for the week and then running with my own ideas about what is central and most relevant for my students. They have been introduced to so many teaching approaches, strategies, tools, theorists, practitioners and activities that I think none of them really have a reason to start their teaching career as a ‘sage on the stage’ unless it’s what they truly desire to be. I hope that from our course they’ve been challenged to think differently about teaching and learning and that they’ve discovered that the labels ‘teacher’ and ‘learner’ can be applied to every individual who is participating in the learning experience.

Here is just a super quick list of what my #EDMT5500 students have been exposed to during the first 9 weeks of the Introduction to Teaching and Learning course. I’d really love it if you commented below with other approaches, strategies, tools, theorists, practitioners and activities that you think a new teacher should be exposed to before getting their first class!

SOLO taxonomy

metaphors for learning spaces

Blooms Taxonomy 

Quality Teaching Framework

Australian professional standards for teaching

8 Aboriginal ways of learning

– Elmore’s instructional core

– Tait Coles’ punk learning approach

Project Based Learning

– Design Thinking (iDesign)

– Thinking activities: KWL, speed-dating, think/pair/share, hexagonal thinking, master and apprentice, think/puzzle/explore

edmodo, Diigo, slideshare, scribd, YouTube, classdojo, Twitter

constructivism and constructionism

Seymour Papert

I’m sure there’s a bunch of other things we have covered but I can’t remember, lol.

5 thoughts on “Teaching teachers is fun but challenging …

  1. 1. It would be cool for each of them to find one blog they like in their subject area/level and share those out. They could also create a list of 10 people to follow on Twitter. Heck @alicekeeler has her teaching college students should up in our #CAedchat all the time. It’s fun they are so earnest.
    2. Tools: Google Docs of course,
    This book: http://hepg.org/hep/book/144/MakeJustOneChange
    This book: http://www.amazon.com/Steal-Like-Artist-Things-Creative/dp/0761169253/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368337480&sr=1-1&keywords=steal+like+an+artist
    This book: http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Like-PIRATE-Engagement-Creativity/dp/0988217600
    This book: http://www.amazon.com/What-Lynda-Barry/dp/1897299354 and her syllabus which you can find on the Jan 24th entry of my daily discoveries page here:

    I envy you. One day I need to get a class like this it would be so fun. They are lucky to have such a hard-working, passionate, and inspiring teacher.

  2. Love your passion, Bianca. Those students are lucky to be getting a glimpse into what is possible – hope you have lit a fire in them that keeps their hope and idealism burning strong! Thanks for sharing all the great links, too.

  3. Pingback: PBL: bringing together divergent theories, strategies and tools #EDMT5500 |

  4. Hi Bianca,
    I was in your EDMT 5500 class.
    I remembered doing the Master/Apprentice activity in one of our tutorials but can’t remember the specifics. I’d really like to try this with my gifted and talented students in Science.
    Would really appreciate if you could share the specifics of this activity and how you would use this in a classroom setting.
    Many Thanks,

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