Tuesday, May 1, 2012

We Are Not That Different

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to dialouge with college level educators in a variety of roles. One of them asked me what I thought the main difference between higher-Ed and K-12 was. I told him that from a school leaders' perspective,n there really wasn't that much of a difference. Both face the issue of working with adult learners in a way that will keep them actively engaged in the concept being covered to ensure comprehension and ultimately, mastery of said concept. Sound familiar? That's what we expect the classroom teachers to do! For those of us who are instructing teachers, there is a need for us to keep in mind that most people will teach in they way they were taught. If people are taught mainly through lecture and theory, they are likely going to teach using the same methods. Though many may see Kindergarten as the "Ground Floor" of education, I have come to think that higher-Ed is the real ground floor. They are the ones originally charged with the initial instruction of K-12 teachers. When I take a look inside higher-Ed classrooms, I often see lecture and theory. While it is important for teachers to understand the theory behind the practice, it is equally important for effective practice to be modeled the instructor, and experienced by the aspiring teacher. The blame can't be placed completely on higher education, though. Once K-12 teachers enter a school system, much of their professional development is driven by initiatives being implemented according to that system's mission and vision. At that point, the torch has been passed. School systems need to provide their staff with professional develop which reflects the desired outcome. There are steps that can be taken by both levels to help strengthen the educational field; but they involve effort on both ends. My next post will discuss the steps educational stakeholders can take to ensure their students are reaching their highest potential.

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