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Thursday, July 24, 2014


I heard one of my former students (I’ll call her Pilar) talking about the challenges of making learning happen for students. (We’re both educators by profession).  

Pilar said that she worked for a strong principal who would ask teachers a simple question:  "Of the students you have who are not being successful, why do you believe they are not succeeding?"

According to Pilar (channeling her principal), the answer a teacher gives to that question tells you everything you need to know about that teacher.

A VERY interesting assertion.

Reminds me of another interesting assertion made by an educator that absolutely changed the way I think about my own teaching and the success (or lack thereof) of my very own students (who now range in age from 3 to 83).  That assertion was posed by Dr. Pedro Noguera of New York University at Steinhardt: "Teaching and learning are the same process, not two different ones. If there is no evidence of learning, then there is no evidence of teaching."  

Both assertions cut to the the very soul and beliefs of the teacher, 
about his/her craft, 
about his/her skills, 
and most importantly, 
about his/her needed next steps to pull students toward success.  

When it comes to learning, success is dependent on the persistence and commitment of BOTH teacher and student.  The difference in the two roles, however, is that the teacher should not, must not, ever be the one that "gives up." 

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