It’s Not What We Teach, It’s What They Learn

Read this article and respond to the following.

Quote a sentence that really struck you as true from this article.  Have you experienced what the sentence is describing or done it yourself?

What do you think of this quote?

“Teaching,” as Deborah Meier has reminded us, “is mostly listening.” (It’s the learners, she adds, who should be doing most of the “telling,” based on how they grapple with an engaging curriculum.) Who does the listening and who does the talking in most American classrooms?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “It’s Not What We Teach, It’s What They Learn

  1. LaQuanda Peavy

    A quote that I agreed with is ” It’s easier to concern yourself with teching than with learning.” I have experienced what the quote is describing in high school. Most of the time the teachers were only concerned with teaching the lessson and moving on the next rather than concentrating on whether or not we getting it. We were taught but not encouraged to participate. I agree with the quote that teaching should be mostly listening. In American classrooms teachers are doing most of the talking. I think that in order for classrooms to be successful that should be the other way around where the learners are doing most of the talking.

  2. Kenric Minges

    Who does the listening and who does the talking in most American classrooms?

    Teachers must move at a very fast pace to cover all the objectives and standards of the course of study and those of the several tests which are administered to students each year. An unfortunate consequence of this fact is that teachers seem to do all the talking and not the students. In a Constructivist environment, the students should actively analyze and reflect on each lesson. They should be the ones talking, with the teacher facilitating the learning. The sentence that has become the icon of the article is, “The point isn’t to deepen understanding…., but merely to elevate test scores.”

  3. In most American schools the teacher does most of the talking and the students do the listening. I agree that “teaching” is mostly listening. Teachers must listen to their students in order to know how to reach them and help them. “Many years ago, the writer George Leonard described lecturing as the “best way to get information form teacher’s notebook to student’s notebook without touching the student’s mind.” I have experienced professors as well as colleagues who lectured for two hours. During this time that my professors lectured for two hours, my mind would zone out and I would think about what I was going to do after class. My students often say why does Mr. W always talk in the same tone; he puts me to sleep Ms. Moore. It is very unfair to students who need hands-on activities to understand and remember material that is being delivered by the teacher. Learning should be fun and interactive.

  4. Derrick Hester

    The quote that really struck me from this article was “teachers took their content so very seriously that they forgot their students.” I, as a secondary math teacher, must realize to let my students discover different mathematical concepts for themselves. In the past, I had high school teachers and college professors who have taken their subject area so seriously to the point that it was not fun for the students. Sometimes, I get caught up with lecturing, and I want to explain all the concepts to my students without letting them discover anything for themselves. I worry that they may discover something wrong. However, failure is just a part of learning. I must not get so caught up in my content area. I also agree with the quote. I believe that the teachers are doing most of the talking and the students are doing most of the listening. In order for the students to be successful, I believe that students need to do more of the talking and discovering of concepts in the classroom.

  5. Deborah Y. Sommerville

    As Deborah Meier said “teaching is mostly listening,” I agree with this as a teacher. But, how do we teach and listen at the same time? We should constantly assess and evaluate our students involving them in learning activities where the teachers become the observers. Students participating in the teaching experience is a way to teach using the cooperative learning (a constructivism approach) where the students LEARN A LITTLE AND UNDERSTAND A LOT. I enjoy teaching this way. Generally, students are more interested in the topic(s), and -hopefully, they remember more from the experience. Although this article says that homework is not viewed by students as an effective learning approach when it is just something for the student to do, and the students are not effectively excited about the topics they are to learn. Kohn (2008) said that we must be concerned with learning and not forget our students. I think that as we evaluate and assess our students which is a must in our systems today, yet we can teach and listen at the same time. In other words, we must TEACH STUDENTS THE SUBJECT NOT JUST TEACH THE SUBJECT TO THE STUDENTS. As the author (Kohn, 2008) concludes, “it is best to see what we do through the eyes of those to whom it’s done. ” (p. 3) So, student’s recommendations or opinions may be assessed and used if they help students to learn.

  6. Gwendolyn Jeffries

    The sentence that struck me to be true in the article was “It’s easier to concern yourself with teaching than with learning, just as it’s more convenient to say the fault lies with people other than you when things go wrong.” This statement is true to me because teachers have to complete units/chapters in a given amount of time. This is true even with special education. This put the teacher more concern with teaching the information. When students are tested on the information and fails the teacher feels that he/she has presented it and the student did not retain it. Teachers will blame the fault on the time frame of teaching the information or students not paying attention. As a teacher I have been put in a spot where I had to teach the information and move on.

    In the classroom the teacher does most of the talking and the students are mostly listening. This is how the system is set up and I feel that some teachers who are adapt to change are getting the students more involved in presenting the materials.

  7. Vanessa Pratcher

    A quote that I very much agreed with in this article is “What we do doesn’t matter nearly as much how kids experience what we do.”

    Teaching is not the act of facilitating, but the act that is the precursor to learning. As the article implied, if one teaches but nothing is learned then nothing has really been taught at all. Teaching involves more than conveying knowledge of the subject but also the knowledge and insight of how to effectively transfer that knowledge to another being so that their understanding at least meets if not supersedes your own. As the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” As does “Teaching is in the eye if the student.” If the one being taught does not perceive or receive the information being relayed then no service has been done. So often parents ask their children “what did you learn at school today?” and many times the answer is “nothing.” When this occurs other questions may arise, such as “Did the teacher not teach?” or “Did the student just no learn?”…but these questions and their subject matter go hand in hand. Learning cannot be experiences without teaching and teaching has not really occurred if nothing has been learned. Educators should do just that, educate, and unless that is done, then teaching has not been experience.

  8. A QUOTE THAT REALLY STRUCK ME AS TRUE FROM THIS ARTICLE WAS ” I TAUGHT A GOOD LESSON EVEN THOUGH THE STUDENTS DIDN’T LEARN IT”. WELL, WHAT THIS MEANS TO ME IS THAT SOMETIMES WE AS AUTHORITY DO ALOT OF PLANNING AND FAIL TO BE FLEXIBLE. EVEN THOUGH WE SPEND HOURS PUTTING TOGETHER LESSON PLANS AND THIS GREAT LESSON, IF IT IS NOT REACHING THE STUDENTS ON A LEVEL THAT THEY UNDERSTAND THEN IT IS USELESS. TEACHERS NEED TO BE READY TO ADAPT AND EXECUTE THEIR MOTIVATIONS AT THE DROP OF A DIME. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY WE WOULD BE ABLE TO SERVICE THE CHILDREN WE TEACH. I AM A COACH AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT I’VE SEEN IS THAT FEEDBACK WILL HELP YOUR PROGRAM WHETHER IT IS POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE. THE ATHLETES WILL LET YOU KNOW WHAT IS AND ISN’T WORKING FOR THEM AND IT IS UP TO THE COACH TO MANIPULATE ANOTHER STRATEGY TO ENABLE EVERYONE TO SUCCEED. I REALLY LIKE THE QUOTE, BECAUSE THAT IS SOMETHING THAT I REALIZED AS A YOUNG TEACHER (SUB) AND A YOUNG COACH. IT MAKES THE STUDENTS AND ATHLETES RESPECT YOU MORE BECAUSE YOU DID ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THEIR CONCERNS. AS I STATED BEFORE, EVERYONE SUCCEEDS; TEACHERS/COACHES TEACH AND STUDENTS/ATHLETES LEARN.

  9. Matt Matthews

    My quote that I could relate to pertaining to the article was, “what we do doesn’t matter nearly as much as how kids experience what we do .” Bingo bango bongo! This has been one of the hardest things for me to realize as a young teacher, that it’s more about what the kids are experiencing and less about what I’m doing. If I’m teaching my butt off, and the kiddos aren’t relating to the subject matter – or if they’re not getting anything out of it then what I’m doing (regardless of how awesome it may be) is useless. It’s important to create a postive atmosphere where kids can experience knowledge first hand.

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