Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Essential Questions for Educators Everywhere - Day Two: What Makes a Good Teacher? #eqfee

The theme for day 2 of the NCI Summer School was "What Makes a Good Teacher". In the workshop session we had to visualise from our own past who we thought were good or bad teachers. For me I first identified my Junior Infants (1964) teacher Mary Keating as a good teacher for encouraging me to learn to avoid getting a slap with a ruler (it worked!). Secondly I identified my 1st year (1972) French teacher John Shanahan also as a good teacher who introduced me to technology in education. I'll not name who I thought was a bad teacher here.

Professor Chip Bruce gave us a great talk about community learning in Nepal. He also discussed multi-modal learning and how who teachers are. He gave a wonderful example of a milk tester in Nepal who is a teacher to the community. He asked the intriguing questions: "If education is conscious life, then what is the teacher's role?". Dr Leo Casey talked to us about teaching being about enabling participation (as distinct from alienation). Participation involves more than one person, therefore there is an important social element to teaching. He gave us the three Rs of teaching: Respect, Risk, and Reflection. He finished up with some advice to us all: "Education always involves risk". 

The third session was delivered by Dr Rose Rudnitski from Mercy College New York. She talked to us a bit about "grit" - you have to have this to succeed in school (my "Grit Score" at angeladuckworth.com is 3.70). Later she talked about wise advocacy/leadership, which I found heavy going in parts. The evening finished up with the energetic Tomás Ó Ruairc of the Irish Teaching Council. He asked us first: "Who teaches teaching of tomorrow?" - the answer is "we do". Teachers are learners too and Tomás had a great message for us about having the "courage" to teach - avoid traps and guilt, and get out and get learning.

Overall - I very much enjoyed the day and look forward to some more during the rest of the week.

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