One of the things that I’ve enjoyed most about our current unit – Mythology – is the opportunity I have to be passionate about learning with students. While I’ve certainly read and studied a lot of these myths before, I continue to discover that there is so much I don’t know. This allows me to experience the power of learning together with students.
In order to make this happen, I make myself answer the focus questions I give them, I try to read the same stories that they are reading, and I try to do all of the assignments that I make them do. This cooperative learning seems to be much more effective use of time than the glorious task of grading.
In relation to that, I think it is equally, if not more powerful, when I actually sit at a table and work in the same environment as the students, rather than at my all-powerful desk. Not only does it help them see that I’m doing what they’re doing, but it also chips away a bit of the power-crazed leader paradigm. Instead, I’m just trying to learn more, just like them.
I think this is something I need to convey more often and more explicitly – that we’re all learning together, myself included. I always tell myself (but probably don’t really tell students explicitly) that I don’t know all the answers, but I can help them figure out where to look. But I think if there was one nugget of wisdom I should share on this subject of learning and knowledge, it would be Switchfoot’s epic line:
“It’s a contradiction – the more we learn, the less we know.” (“Golden”)