Currently, many major learning institutions around the nation are re-examining their approach to pedagogy, (pedagogy meaning teaching, as an English major, I find one of the benefits is that I get to build up a great store of big words to throw around, whilst one of the detracting factors is that when I actually get to throw these big words around, people think that I”m a pompous so-and-so). There are many different styles and approaches to teaching in the modern world. Two students taking the same class can come away with a different level of understanding of the material depending upon who is teaching the class. Thus far, no teaching style has been declared to be better or worse than another, and all it really comes down to is personal belief and preference. A rather important question that has been making the rounds in many educational circles is whether or not educators should take a more holistic approach to their vocation. Is it important to connect with students, to make them feel equal, and bring their outside lives into the classroom? Or should it just be about the information, the actual learning of the relevant material? There is no definite answer at this point, only various different viewpoints and beliefs.
Myself, I have come to college seeking a holistic education, though I do not expect to find all of that in the classroom. What I ask from my teachers is that they, well, teach me. It often seems that the scholarliness of scholarship has become unrespectable. I need teachers in whose ability and grasp of the information I can feel confident, and in order for that to happen, their needs to be a certain difference in station. I have plenty of friends, I do not need to look to educators for that, and am perfectly capable of acknowledging that a teacher is smarter than me without bursting into tears. The classroom is where I need to learn the information and the facts, the rest of my education I can take care of. Every time I navigate the city, make a new friend, go to a new place, even do my laundry, I am progressing in my life lessons. As I move forward in life, I am learning what works and what doesn’t work for me in the classroom, learning things that will help me later on, such as that keeping my papers organized makes life easier, and that maybe my habit of procrastination isn’t working out for me quite so well as I had once hoped.
Befriending a teacher in the classroom and sharing a touching story really isn’t going to give me a lot of useful life experience, despite it’s Disney-esque picture-perfect image. Many teachers are encouraged or even pressured by their places of employment to become their students’ friend and equal. This is usually painfully obvious to the students in question, and really does little more than make the teacher look -and probably feel- like a dork. The best approach that a teacher can take is probably to be genuine. If a teacher is more comfortable in a relaxed, casual atmosphere, than teach that way, the same for a teacher that is more comfortable in a more structured atmosphere. The most important thing, to the teacher, should be that their students are learning the relevant material for the class, that they are given the opportunity to question that material, and that their questions are answered satisfactorily.
Some things either can’t be or shouldn’t be taught in the classroom, but learned on one’s own. Does this mean I will make mistakes? Yes, of course, in much the same way that I will get questions wrong on tests, I will get some things wrong in my life, but I’m okay with that, life will teach me, experience will educate me. Of course, it is entirely possible that I’m dead wrong about all this, it’s not as though I’ve had a practice life to test my theory out. As I said before, it’s all personal belief and preference.