What is a teacher? Am I one?
After some time in my teaching practice, I have realised that I have learnt some essential things while trying to define how I see teaching and how do I see myself as a teacher.
by Mykolas, student at DNS2015
Do you consider yourself a teacher?
It is an essential question for understanding how you should approach situations in your life, where you would in one way or the other need to work in a social setting. We are talking about the majority of activities here. After all, humans are social beings. In this realisation, relating to the environment around you in an interactive way is part of the nature. We enjoy taking part in activities where we interact with our environments.
For example, a recent study made by Games for Learning Institute (G4LI) funded by Microsoft Research, shows great examples of how teachers can use tools provided by video games to enhance their teaching. The success lies within the ability to connect the attractive things that we do daily with our learning process. Kids and adults alike are more likely to learn and remember knowledge if it is connected to doing something that they like.
Whether it is gaming, doing a desk job, talking human rights, nursing – people that consider themselves teachers try their best to interact with their environment in an educational manner. This is not an easy concept to grasp. In order to better understand it, let’s break it down.
Teachers could consider themselves as employees – they do their job for a set number of hours and move on with their daily life in any way they prefer afterwards. Such approach created a division between profession and other aspects of life. It also brings a limited responsibility for the teachers.
Teacher profession or teacher lifestyle?
The difference between teacher profession and teacher lifestyle is exactly the one of responsibility. This is not to say that someone is irresponsible. Such statement merely underlines the fact that there is much more that any teacher could do. Part of teaching as lifestyle means creating the educational aspect around a vast diversity of the activities that you do in your life. Being interested in educational aspect of any activities that you do, means that you are interested in what you can learn and teach before, during and after getting involved. It prompts reflection.
Reflection on the environment is a part of human nature. Teachers reflect, too. It is an important part of the profession as well as a teacher lifestyle. Teachers in profession need to improve their teaching at all times, in order to deliver the best of their knowledge to the students. They also reflect on alternative ways of involving their students in learning processes. Teaching in and out of classroom, teachers by lifestyle have a much bigger field to master.
Therefore, they are much more flexible while constructing their teaching and enhancing their personal and professional traits. Structured reflection is important, too. Goal seeking with reflection and target questions about how to overcome one or the other issue become master tools for both types of teachers. The quality of learning from reflection increases directly with the quality of target questions and other relevant structures for reflections.
Not everyone is great at lecturing, but all can become great teachers
It is crucial to remember that we are all different. There are times when others excel at their teaching, while there are some other times when I have a feeling that I know exactly what to do. No point to stress about it. We are all great at some things while worse at some other, and no one is perfect (of course, we try to be).
There is lots of strength in this. The strength lies in the diversity of humanity. More heads work better than one, if they work together. The strength comes from the cooperation. Team that works together has much more expertise in most of the fields, than any single one of us. Therefore, the essential goal is to improve the collaborative output of the team, through enriching every individual. Teachers see that everyone has a relevant point and could contribute, if they pot their minds to it.
Therefore, even if not everyone is a great spokesman, we could learn lots from each other and people around us.
Most of us are living our lives in communities of various types and sizes. Your family, your school, job, neighbourhood, city, towns around you – those are all different layers of the same reality that we all represent. We know what is the best, what could be improved and what are the struggles. If we want to change something, we need to take responsibility over the things around us. If we are to take responsibility over our society, we need to work together with the people around us.
Here we come to the concept of active citizenship, of which teachers are a big part. Clearly, in leading role, teachers pioneer new ideas and are looking for solutions, empowering other to work with them.
Only people who try, can change the world around them.
Student at DNS 2015
We enjoy taking part in activities where we interact with our environments.
If we want to change something, we need to take responsibility over the things around us. If we are to take responsibility over our society, we need to work together with the people around us.
Integration is an important aspect, or rather one of the goals, of the “Tvind Pedagogy”. In Tvind, deliberate effort is regularly put into reflecting about how to make it better, into adjusting our knowledge of it to each student and into constantly finding out new ways to make them feel like they belong. These concepts and reflections later materialise in the many ways in which we actually exercise integration.
DNS 2017, the senior team, is now finalising one of the last periods of DNS programme: Teaching Practice. Teaching Practice lets us experiment in the reality of the classroom, apply teaching methodologies and most importantly, make mistakes and learn from them. However, teaching practice doesn’t end after the lessons. We also contribute to the teaching practice place by being in charge of the programme in the school and initiating a chosen project, our “Footprint”.