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No Parroting Allowed!

Learning Emergence by Asking Questions

Emergence Group Babies

"Must Good Teachers Have Been Good Students?"

Questions for the Week of July 9, 2007

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When asked, "how do you best learn?" most people usually respond with either a technique, like "in a classroom," or by naming their favorite sense, like "I learn best visually." Unfortunately, this implies that most people define "learning" as the ability to parrot the correct answer.

What is wrong with this? "Parroting the correct answer" creates parrots, not students; dullards, not Einsteins. So how can we create more Einsteins? By asking questions which are intended to provoke the student's own questions. More important, this turns out to be the best way in which to reawaken in students their lost love of learning.

This week, our topic is "Must Good Teachers Have Been Good Students?" Would you like to awaken a love of learning in you about this topic? You can, simply by reading the teacher's questions and then, by asking yourself, what questions did these words just provoke in me?

"Must Teachers Be Good Students?"

The Teacher's Questions

  • Must good teachers have been good students?
  • Can a poor student ever become a good teacher?
  • Can a quick student ever become a poor teacher?
  • Can a teacher who was always an A student understand a student who has never gotten better than a C?
  • Would a teacher who rose above being a C student make a more compassionate teacher overall? Even to A students?
  • Should good students be asked to teach their peers?
  • Will this help more than hurt? Will this inspire them to teach?
  • If a student does peer tutor, will this alienate them from other students? From the good students?
  • Do teachers whose major was English write up better lesson plans? Better sounding lesson plans? Better structured lesson plans?
  • Can good teachers ever make kids more important than grades while still managing to meet the curricula requirements? Does meeting all the requirements really matter?

Sample Student Response Questions

  • Do good students make poor teachers look good?
  • Do poor teachers make poor students look good?
  • Must good teachers manage to help all of their students?
  • Should good teachers focus their efforts on the students who need the most help?
  • Are willing students necessary for a teacher to be good?
  • Are disruptive students always a negative influence?
  • Do disruptive students offer teachers any opportunities?
  • Can good students unwittingly be teachers pets?
  • Can teachers pets ever really benefit from this favoritism?
  • Can favoritism even create genuine motivation in good students?

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