08 July 2014

I Teach Adults

"Smiles" by ChrisConnell
Adults will not listen to you just because you're the teacher. Adults expect to know why what you're presenting is worth knowing before they'll engage. Their experiences automatically color their interpretation of and interaction with what you're trying to teach them. They decide what's worth learning and pursue it according to their own internal motivations and purposes.

Are my students adults??

Apparently pedagogy refers to instructing children. I hadn't thought about that. Apparently pedagogy assumes children lack experiences to which they may refer and depend on the instructor to tell them what's worth learning and how to learn it, whereas andragogy caters to learners who can't help but draw connections to their own experiences and who learn so they can do something with their learning.

Archaic academic traditions aside, I'm pretty sure that's what 95% of my teenage students would do given half a chance (see Art Club).

Ostensibly, Dr. Judy Moore's purpose was to demonstrate how not to get a book thrown at you when you are presenting PD for your colleagues. I think she achieved that. But really, all of the techniques we discussed and test drove? They seemed at least as appropriate for my students as they did for my peers.  We've got to tap into students' intrinsic motivation at least as much as a teacher's, and we've got to activate their own experiences to make the learning part of their lives. That's why authentic approaches like Genius Hour and PBL are critical at the high school level.

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