How should we teach?

My philosophy on the above question is that we should, for the majority of the time, be the ‘guide from the side’.

As John Dewey said in ‘How We Think’, for teachers ‘to cram pupils with facts which, with little more trouble, they could discover by direct inquiry is to violate their intellectual integrity by cultivating mental servility’

Direct instruction, of course, has an important role to play at the right time, however, we have all experienced the buzz we get from discovering things for ourselves.  Therefore if we want ‘buzzing’ students (if you can pardon the phrase) in our lessons we must allow opportunities for discovery.

This is common sense practice, not common practice.


2 Responses to How should we teach?

  1. Damian says:

    I agree but I couldn’t help also agree with Jonathan Smith in The Learning Game when he said that actually telling kids facts is a pretty fundamental part of what teachers should do. The trick is to give them enough of the right facts that you create sufficient curiosity (and maybe cognitive conflict) for them to want to learn more and ask questions, or ask them questions in such a way as they realise they already know the facts you want them to learn. Having said that there is nothing more dull than masses of facts.

  2. Seems as though we are more or less on the same page; this links into my other post on the ‘Perfect lesson structure’ and what the right mix of independent, interdependent (Kagan / Jigsawing etc) and dependent (teacher) learning is. Could I borrow the above book please?

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