Friday, December 16, 2011

Teaching is Sowing Seeds

Planting seeds, or bulbs, or beans is always an exciting thing to do because you have the growth of the plant to look forward to as well as the harvesting of the fruit. This doesn't happen by accident though. The plant has to be cared for and nurtured with the right amount of water, food and sunlight. We can provide the conditions to optimize the growth of the plant but it is, ultimately,  up to the plant whether it thrives or not.

I often think teaching is a bit like this. As teachers we can plant the seeds of knowledge and understanding and provide the student with a stimulating, creative, and supportive learning environment. We can share our passion for what we teach, and we can care deeply about the students we teach but, ultimately, it is up to the student whether she/he thrives within the educational context.

As teachers, we can teach but it is always the student who does the learning.

At the end of each semester the students in my Elementary Math and Science class plant a selection of beans that were part of the 15 Bean Soup project we completed in the penultimate class of the semester. The project involves exploring different ways we can use 15 Bean Soup to teach a variety of topics in math, science, language and art. Here's a school where the students do similar activities.

Many of the students, like Kerry and Carleen who sent me these pics, really look after their beans and are able to grow them to the point where they can actually harvest the beans.

One of the incredible rewards of teaching is seeing the successes of one's students. Kerry and Carlene have clearly learned something about the educational value of this particular activity. Well done indeed.


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