Wednesday, October 21, 2015

10 Questions Student Teachers Must Ask Their Mentors

I was scrolling through Zite last week (as I often do) reading blog posts about education, educational technology, Social Studies, and other nerdy school stuff, when I ran across this article: 10 Questions Student Teachers Must Ask Their Mentors.

Now, I've had a few student teachers in my time. 8 full time student teachers, and countless pre-service teachers who observed my classroom for a few weeks at a time. Because of this I've had lots of time to formally and verbally reflect on what I feel is best practice in my classroom. I've had student teachers who needed me to actually walk them through each aspect of being a teacher, explaining the "what's" and "why's" about everything from how to get kids to stay in their seats and stop touching each other, to how the work that a student submits can be used to actually assess their understanding of material (beyond reporting a simple accumulating points.)

At a recent conference I attended, I heard a man explain the "one-cubed" theory. I'm not sure if this is something he made up, or if its one of those catchy educational terms that people toss around, but it resonated with me. Essentially, the idea is that in order to learn something well, a person must first have it explained to them (1), then actually do it (2), and then teach someone else (3).

Learn. Do. Teach.

Short and sweet, but very powerful. I think this holds true for most people in almost any situation, whether its a child learning to dribble a basketball, or a grad student learning scientific principles of microbiology, the same holds true. The more you help others understand something, the better you understand it yourself. I learned the most about our US Government from actually teaching about it to students. I'd read the books and heard the lectures, and participated in many different ways, but not until I had to explain things like "exigent circumstances" to a 16 year old, did I really start to fully understand all the implications that came with the concept.

So I guess having to explain my daily details to multiple different pre-service teachers has really helped me understand what I truly believe to be good teaching practices. Had I just taken the undergrad classes, or even just taught my students over the years, I don't think I would have the grasp on my craft like I do after explaining it to people with varying backgrounds and different philosophies.

So as I read the questions posted in the article linked above, I started thinking of how I have / would answer these questions posed from a rookie teacher. Over the next few weeks, I plan on crafting a response to these questions (and I'm assuming more that will randomly pop into my head).

Until next time, be good!

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