Katherine Schulten recently wrote an article for The Learning Network in the New York Times, "Who is The Best Teacher You Ever Had? Why?". I found the comments to this post tremendously interesting.
I used to do an activity in my course for pre-service Elementary Education students asking them to think about the two best teachers they ever had. After giving them a few minutes to think of those great teachers and the qualities they possessed that made them great I asked each student to give a quick talk about one of the two.
After completing this discussion we talked about the similarities these teachers had. Typically the discussion centered around these characteristics:
- Fostered Critical/Innovative Thinking
Many of these characteristics were detailed in the comments of the post mentioned above. What I found most interesting (since it was a technology course) was what happened next. I then asked them to think about their two teachers again and raise their hand if either of them used technology in their teaching. On average one to two hands (out of typically 20 students per class) would be raised. This translates to me that many of our young future teachers do not equate technology use being part of "good teaching".
I found this theme to continue as I worked with these college students over the course of each semester as I met resistance to the idea of using technology to reach all learners. These students see technology as a social tool (Facebook, IM, texting, YouTube, etc.) - not a learning tool. Over the course of the semester they tend to slowly change their thoughts about this concept. I have found that most teachers use the modeling they received as students to mold the style of teacher they will become. Will these younger teachers carry us forward in the advancement of 21st Century Skills?
Image: 'write like the wind'