Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"re-inventing the wheel"

I know that NOT re-inventing the wheel is easy, convenient and fast but it can also be good to start from scratch. I am learning this in teaching these computer courses this year. I know that I have lots of available resources and for the most part I am using them to the fullest extent, but I am also very much aware of the fact that for me to learn - even if it's along with the students - that I need to start from scratch and be my own teacher first. I need to do this in order to troubleshoot, and understand my own students frustrations. Any of the new programs (for me) that I am teaching come with a whole set of issues and confusions that I am well aware that I must encounter first on my own before setting foot inside my classroom to teach it. Many times people come unprepared to face challenges but I have been trying to meet mine with a bag-full of knowledge and experience. This is not to say that since I do re-invent the wheel, that I think it is a bad thing if you do not re-invent the wheel.

For example, take a web-based resource such as central-i-school; a wonderful resource that has many valuable, easy to use and incorporate lesson and unit plans that are ready for use at the click of a mouse. I use it, and I know many other teachers that use it. This is not to say that we cannot make our own lessons and units for our subjects/classes, but that not re-inventing the wheel can be a beneficial learning tool for you and your students. If you allow the chance to have more ideas for lessons that can incorporate different learning strategies, instructional strategies, vocabulary, etc. then you are enriching the students experience. No one can believe that their way is the best and only way to reach the students - because we know from reading various books and articles that students do learn better when it is varied, not always the same year to year, unit to unit and lesson to lesson. Allowing others ideas to be utilized is not a weakness but an inner strength to say 'I do not know it all, and I am willing to recieve the help to make my students learn and succeed more'.

I encourage you all to try new ideas, whether it be your own, a colleagues, a parents, a students or any other way you may recieve this idea. This is what being a life-long learner is all about!