To the Editor:
When I started teaching more than 30 years ago, the use of computers in education was still a new concept, and learning differences were just beginning to be documented. Our teaching style was to introduce material and then expect the students to memorize it. If a student was struggling, you encouraged him or her to work harder.
Obviously, technology has changed classroom instruction dramatically, and as good teachers we have to adapt to these changes to best serve our students. We have to step out of our comfort zones and try new things:
• Don’t be afraid to learn about technology from your students. Don’t be afraid to ask them how to do something or if they know of any good applications.
• Keep a journal during the year of what worked and what did not.
• Find mentors, and not necessarily just from your discipline. Ask your colleagues what their students like the most about their classes.
• Go to conferences and workshops to find out what other teachers are doing in their classes. Brainstorming with others will push you out of the rut that teachers—myself included—sometimes fall into.
Students today are visual and tactile, and they love music. Our teaching has to be geared to their interests if we want to keep their attention.
We give so much energy to our students that the idea of doing one more thing just leaves us tired. The truth is that if we energize our classroom with new, innovative, and creative ideas, we will feel re-energized as well.
Our students need us to give them the best that we have, and we have to package our teaching in a way that will reach them, keep their focus, and leave them wanting to learn more. We need to be just like the lifelong learners that we are hoping to create in the classroom.
Mount Paran Christian School
A version of this article appeared in the August 21, 2013 edition of Education Week as Teachers Must Embrace, Not Fear, Technology