Freedom of Information:
A teacher friend of mine once asked me, “what am I responsible for?” The question resonated with many of the other teachers in the room and later when posted into the old DTS-L forum online it resonated there as well. What are teachers responsible for? The natural answer is providing students with the required information so that the student can pass any national test required to move on in school. But is that the right answer?
I don’t think in fact it is. Teachers are guides on the path to knowledge (the slogan of the Society of Dead Teachers was “Kindle the Flame of knowledge” the operative words there being kindle (but light would have worked) and flame. A flame is much more than a spark. In fact the journal the DTS published many years ago was called “Kindle the Flame.” So based on my feelings/thoughts and experiences teachers are responsible for:
1. Learning Environment
2. Mores and Ethics
3. Questioning skills
4. Thinking Skills
As parents we hate the 3rd one (why? Because, why? Because I told you so) but it is a critical skill. The ability for a child to assimilate information, make that information relevant to what they believe and produce a “view” of the information is an important skill that all children should have. My personal believe is that you teach questioning skills for two reasons, the first is the ability for children to understand and place information. The second is to develop the thinking skills that children require to succeed in life. Memorization is an interesting skill but it doesn’t help or promote anything other than the ability to regurgitate information presented previously. Thinking allows us to move up the ladder and synthesize information (make it our own).