The more I learn as a grown up, the less I know that I know. There are vast bodies of knowledge out there that I have not had contact with and really could probably avoid in my day to day life. So why shouldn’t I? It would certainly be easier. It would be less time consuming to be happy with my lot and carry on. Certainly I keep my subject knowledge up to date, so I thought I should consider why I need to be a learner, and not just a teacher so here is my top 5 on why learning…
1 – I want to be a positive role model for my students. It is really powerful to say, ‘the other day I was reading….’ And I totally endorse the practice of displaying what book it is you are reading at the minute so that students can see you are trying to better yourself. It can make for excellent conversations with your tutor group and show you in a similar light to your students, a learner who need to acquire more knowledge.
2 – The rise of MOOCs has highlighted the thirst for knowledge in a digital format. However, it can also be really awesome to just lose yourself in a book. There are talented teachers writing all the time who can help make your practice better. Books, blogs; why settle for being average when you could be even better if….. Let yourself be inspired by others and share that you have made use of ideas and give credit. The teaching community as a whole can benefit from you being a good learner and sharer.
3 – In terms of teaching as a profession, I believe we owe it to our major stakeholders, such as Governors, to show a willingness to improve. Let’s make learning CPD done by teachers not to teachers. Let’s take back the control of our own development by making learning at the heart of teaching.
4 – Dual professionalism; that is mastery of our subject knowledge as well as pedagogy is central to the role of the teacher. Learning is an intrinsic part of this, and out of date knowledge on either front is not acceptable when the stakes for our students are so high. Learning is not a frivolous pursuit, but a professional must.
5 – On a personal note I have developed so much in the last few years that I am now really confident in many ways I was not before. Knowledge for its own sake can also be pleasurable in terms of our own development as human beings, and now I am really up for forming a super-teacher pub quiz team.
So, what do you think? Could we win the jackpot in the Thursday night quiz, and why do you think learning is so central to our role as teachers?