Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Teaching the Child, Not the Subject
We recently viewed a video by the creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson. (http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/66) In this video he told the story of the choreographer of "Cats" and other Broadway shows. As a child, she could not hold still in class and her parents were told she had a learning problem. Fortunately, her mother and doctor discovered that she did not have a disability, she was a dancer. A dancer who could not sit still all day in a desk. She was sent to a performing arts school and became very successful in her field. My Introduction to Teaching students tell me stories about their visits to classrooms where the teacher is so structured that there is no room for children with diverse learning styles. In these cases, I think the teacher is only concerned with covering the material, not with turning the light switch of learning on for each child. We can use excuses like class size and high-stakes testing all we want. The bottom line is to be a good teacher is to provide support for learning basic skills through the learning style of the child. It is not impossible, it is just not 'assembly-line' work with dittos. Teachers need to work smarter, not harder. We teach children, not standards.