Teacher, teach thyself.

Coursera is good.

I take (and build) online classes regularly. Two approaches always come together when I take e-courses: getting the content presented under my hat and evaluating how the content was presented. I get to be student and teacher together.

Enrolling in section two of the 8 part Coursera sequence on the foundations of teaching at the same time as sweeping up the first course was a good idea. I am applying the content of various courses to personal projects so that I can get practice and test comprehension.

Remember goals of the course syllabus

By the end of this week you will:

  • Know what makes a good and bad teacher and how to accommodate the individuals you are teaching.
  • Be able to identify the characteristics that define effective teachers and schools.
  • Know what continuing professional development is and what you can do to keep improving your skills.
  • Have an understanding of the various types of philosophy of education.

Since I enjoy the choose your own adventure style of self-pacing, a week is not really a week. My goal is to immerse and continue the phenomenal level of reading I have been enjoying on this subject. It is worth spending quality thinking time on application of themes and refreshing myself about what I don’t know and won’t know until I am in place and live in front of a class.

What type of teacher?

  • Good teachers know their subjects and how their subjects exist in the real world. The full continuity and history of the subject and its trajectory.
  • Not so good teachers fake it, can’t answer holistic questions, and make do with other people’s materials. Can’t understand when the students call them on their nonsense.
  • Good teachers respect people and treat them with honesty and integrity regardless of age, race, gender, orientation, ability. Harder than it seems, but the more humane a teacher, the better a teacher.
  • Bad teachers have no interest in developing their own worldview to be more inclusive. They don’t practice stepping into the shoes of a learner.

Teaching philosophies.

Philosophy and philosophy of education and knowledge occupies a lot of my study, so I have a strong background of learning and practicing learning as a social construct, scaffolding, and interconnected reasoning.  I am motivated by my own desire to teach about learning how to learn, so I must practice at every opportunity.

Steiner and Montessori approaches to education are likeable because of emphasis on the set and setting and honoring the child at appropriate developmental phases. I am coupling what I learn with the coursework requirement to read and develop points on authentic pedagogy.  Adding my personal adherence to authenticity as a way of life in all contexts is part of owning this material.  As a lifelong learner, autodidact, and lover of empowering knowledge, I practice toward these goals:

 Construction of Knowledge: using or manipulating knowledge as in analysis, interpretation, synthesis, and evaluation, rather than only reproducing knowledge in previously stated forms.

 Disciplined Inquiry: gaining in-depth understanding of limited topics, rather than superficial acquaintance with many, and using elaborated forms of communication to learn and to express one’s conclusions.

 Value Beyond School: the production of discourse, products, and performances

(from Authentic Intellectual Work: What and Why? Fred M. Newmann University of Wisconsin, Madison)