Do you Teach or Do you Educate?
“Education is the kindling of a flame not the filling of a vessel.” Socrates
The goal in becoming a educator instead of a teacher is not to provide students predefined solutions but instead providing them with the necessary tools and methods to develop a individual solution for a given problem by themselves. To implement this strategy in my classroom I will evaluate, not only the efficiency of what I do, but also the effectiveness of my methods. The difference between the two is doing things right and doing the right things.
I believe to be a good educator you have to constantly ask yourself if you are teaching or educating on a continuous basis. Sometimes it will be necessary to do both to accomplish a goal. I think as an educator you have to care about what you do and who is going to be affected.
Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home
Mr. Johnson describes in his blog how he lets his students take home a tool, which in this case is a pencil. Gertrude, the school Curriculum Instructional Interventionist Academic Specialist, argued the case that the students would misuse the pencil if they were allowed to take this tool home. Her conclusion was based on one single study that proved this theory. For a woman with a hammer everything looks like a nail.
Let us imagine we would substitute the pencil for a laptop, the students who would take home their laptops, clearly would not use it for educational purposes only but also for playing games, using facebook, watching movies and so on. These activities might not have a direct, positive influence regarding a certain test but are beneficial to the student in the long run by enhancing the creativity and productivity on how well the student will be able to utilize the tool.
The same principle also applies to the pencil. Instead of restricting the access of a certain tool it would be better to educate the students and teachers about the appropriate use of the tool. This greater freedom, which comes hand in hand with responsibility, will allow all participants to produce greater outcomes in the long run and outcompete colleagues, who were only allowed restricted access to certain tools and were facing limitations on their way. It has been proven, the greater the freedom is, the more prosperous people are, in an economical way as well as in an intellectual way.