On meeting teachers where they are

December 2, 2008 § 1 Comment

Sometimes, we just need a reality check.

There are an awful lot of us in the edu-techie-blogosphere that like to gush on and on about the latest thing, and how easy it would be for a classroom teacher to just pick it up, if only they’d give it a chance and stop being so darn stubborn.

But here is the harsh reality: some of our teachers are stubborn; all of our teachers are busy, and an awful lot just don’t have the motivation, time, or both to learn something new.

Case and point.  I helped a teacher learn PowerPoint last week.  She needed to learn it for a class she was taking.  Good for her.  I didn’t talk down to her, or try to show her any more than she wanted to learn because I wanted her to come back to me when she wanted to learn more.  So what if it’s taken her this long to learn PowerPoint?  She had finally found her motivation, and now that she’s learned it, she’s ready to start using it with her students.

Here’s my point.  If I had tried to coax this teacher into learning a more ‘web 2.0’ tool, I might have hooked her, but I might have lost her forever.  She told me what she wanted to learn, and I showed her.  Now that I’ve got her attention and trust, I can show her other things.  But she needs to ask first.

Yes, there are teachers who flat out refuse to learn new things.  There are also plenty of teachers who just haven’t found their motivation, or the time in their busy lives to learn something new.

Even though, as technology folks, we’re miles ahead of those teachers, every once in a while we need to stop and wait for the back of the pack to catch up with us, and help them run at their own pace.

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§ One Response to On meeting teachers where they are

  • kwhobbes says:

    You’ve hit it right on. We get so many different people who don’t seem to really get what teaching is all about. In my division we are looking at new curriculum coming online quickly in the next few years. We’ve been working on different provincial and division initiatives, which need to be followed and teachers need to spend time on these. For some, using technology is easy but for most, their lives are so full right now that they don’t have room for more. I like what you’ve done and, yes, you’ve left the door open for more to happen. That’s much more than what most do!

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