Who needs a Teacher when we can have a Learner?

The LearnerI heard something interesting today. The basic idea is that the most important thing kids need to be taught is how to teach themselves what they need/want to know. It’s not as important that I’m a “Teacher” but that I’m a “Learner,” modeling and guiding my students to be Learners, too. This means learning how to Find the answer, to Evaluate conflicting information, to beef up our/their Critical Thinking skills.

How many homeschool families do you know? If, like me, you have met many students educated outside the typical public school system, you might have come away with the same perception I did. Namely, that homeschool kids are more self-directed, mature, independent, and engage in active learning (active seeking). The passivity and lack of motivation I sometimes come across with traditional (public/private school) students utilizing our tutoring service is almost non-existent with homeschool kids.

Now that Pacific Learning Academy is an accredited private high school, we enjoy the best of both worlds. Knowledgeable, caring, encouraging and curious teachers work 1-on-1 with students who want to shrug off timelines and either go faster or slower to reach academic mastery. I love the look in a new PLA student’s face when I tell them we are going to design the class together, and that they will be active decision-makers when it comes to the type of homework and evaluations we will utilize. I love that they emerge at the end of our program knowing so much more than they had been learning in a class room setting, and are eager to tackle the next challenges.

Some students are so used to being told where to go and what to do that they’ve lost their internal “Academic GPS” and are lost without direct instruction. At PLA, we teach kids to be Learners again, a skill we are born with and can be resurrected at any time. Students can reclaim their Academic GPS, their motivation, and their control over their academic destiny.

And for that reason, I think I’d rather be considered a model Learner than a Teacher.

April 22, 2012

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