Today was my first day of teaching in the Fall semester. I got a glimpse of the students I will spend my class days with over the next four months. I can tell already that I am going to laugh an awful lot with this bunch. And truth be told, that is a critical component of a successful class. Over the years I have discovered that folks remember quite a bit more when they are relaxed and enjoying themselves.
The challenge in allowing a more relaxed classroom is finding the balance between freedom and control. It is often a fine line, but when it is accomplished it makes for a magical learning environment. And that is what it is ultimately about – learning.
I was at a meeting yesterday where the topic of innovative teaching was discussed. The traditional method of teaching that so many of us were raised on is no longer delivering the results that are needed. Society is changing – technology is integral to our everyday life and our expectations of human potentiality have become limitless. Students are no longer passively receiving information – they are engaging with it and in some cases creating it as a part of their learning experience.
This is a phenomenal time to be an educator…a time to re-examine what our goals are with students. There is so much more to talk about than standardized tests and silo-based topical coverage. This is the time to step back and ask ourselves what the goal of the education system is and to examine ways in which we can liberate educators to best meet that goal.
In my classes, we think, we discuss, we challenge, and we laugh. As a result, we all learn. As I tell my students, it is okay to have fun while learning…in fact, it is strongly encouraged.
Day one thousand five hundred and ten of the new forty – obla di obla da