Brookfield’s chapter 15 on “Helping Students Take Responsibility for Learning” shed some great insight on how we as instructors can help our students learn to learn (Brookfield, 2015). Lifelong learning is a student’s responsibility. Teachers can help build that with the help of carefully planned techniques that inform the student about themselves and what makes them succeed. There are a few nuggets I gleaned from the chapter, like “Recognizing Everyday Cognition” (Brookfield, 2015) . This is especially great for adult learners who have been out of school for sometime, or new immigrants who may be connecting dots on how to make their knowledge transfer to Canada. I take note of when a student in this situation lets me know of their expertise, and I call on them as “expert witnesses” for that subject if it comes up in discussion.
But, learning as a responsibility? Don’t we have so many of those as adults already? When I think of piling learning onto the heap of things under my purview, it kind of scares me off a bit.
I like to think of learning as one of my joys in life. Like music and art, learning is a special thing a do for myself. I love feeling curious and following a trail of interesting articles to find the answer. One of my instructors once said “Teach what is interesting”. That resonated with me.
When I was six, my dad took me to the Science Centre. (Actually he took me nearly every weekend for years). On our way out, he bought me a little propeller that had white on one side of the blades and black on the other. If held up to a light source, it would spin. My dad told me that because the white colour reflects light and the black colour absorbs it, it pushes the propeller around. Well, my six year old mind was BLOWN! I have always loved science since then, reading and watching documentaries to feed my curiosity. I even took Physics in University, undaunted by my horrible mark because I loved just listening to the discussions. I am not a science professional even in the slightest, but I have a passion for the subject.
My Dad taught me something interesting and gave me a gift I have enjoyed my entire life: a love of science. What interesting thing did you learn that sparked your mind?
Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.