George Lucas Educational Foundation
Professional Learning

Teachers: What Have You Learned Lately?

Being in the business of educating, teachers are encouraged to explore as learners themselves and are celebrated for pursuing new ideas, strategies, techniques, technologies, and curriculum.

September 30, 2015
Photo credit: marco antonio torres via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

If a surgeon said, "I'm learning so much!" when you asked her how her work was going, it may be a little disconcerting. The truth is, doctors are always striving to learn, and it's required that they be perpetual learners. It's just that they are not afforded the same space as other professions to admit it.

Doctors and teachers in-training have a lot in common. Doctors learn through observations and clinical experiences, as do student teachers when first placed in the field with mentor or expert teachers. Additionally, both these professions are rooted in the philosophy that one learns by doing.

As teachers, being that we are in the business of educating, we are encouraged to explore as learners ourselves. In our field, we are celebrated for pursuing new ideas, strategies, techniques, technologies, and curriculum.

Committing Ourselves to the Art and Journey of Learning

Educational revolutionist and researcher Paulo Freire proposed praxis, which is the process of applying research and theory to one's teaching practice, reflecting on the results, and then using those results and new tools or ideas to begin the process again. It's never-ending.

In what ways have you done this lately?

Commit yourself to the praxis process this school year. Consider taking on an investigation of something (or someone) you keep meaning to learn more about or explore further:

Technology: Is there software, like an educational app, you've wanted to check out? How about hardware -- that tablet you've yet to master, or maybe the document camera just purchased by your school?

Students: What is the population you are most unfamiliar with (English learners, children with ADHD, or advanced students)?

A pedagogical approach: How might you better incorporate small-group learning, reciprocal teaching, backwards planning, or project-based learning?

Standards: How confident and familiar are you with the standards used by your school or district?

Take the challenge! Share with us in the comments section below how you plan to take action on the praxis process this year. What will you learn?

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