Teaching and Learning

Here’s a tip… don’t drink a latte at 9pm at night. Resist. Even though it goes beautifully with your baklava and ice cream… DON’T DO IT. Learning from experience… you could be blogging at 4am wishing that you didn’t have that latte. I can’t sleep. At first I thought it was because I finished my (draft) PowerPoint presentation for my dissertation oral examination, but nope… I’m wrong. It was definitely the latte.

Moving on… I thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to share some of my thoughts on the POWER OF TEACHING AND LEARNING. I am in a wonderful and unique position. Not only am I teaching pre-service teachers at the university as a sessional instructor, I am also learning at the university as a doctoral student. I have always been enamoured by the wonders of teaching and learning. On the one hand, it seems almost magical. On the other hand, it’s more about technique, strategies, and rigour. I would like to focus on the MAGIC OF TEACHING AND LEARNING.

In my EDUC454 course, we are approaching the end with only a couple classes to go. I’m hoping that all I have constructed, designed, and orchestrated is starting to make sense to the students. Initially, the course feels like a conceptual mess. I build my courses on a concept and get to the details later. Now, we’re in “the later” and students are asking questions on how to complete some of the tasks they are asked to do for the course. I encourage them to ask questions and I will happily answer them. As a student, I’m not so forthcoming. I need to model what I want to see.

For the last few days, I’ve been stewing on my EdD Oral Examination PowerPoint presentation. I sent out an email to my supervisor last week indicating to him that I would like to meet with him some time soon. He replied by saying when he could meet and where we could meet. He also indicated to me that LESS IS MORE and recommended that I do 6 SLIDES FOR 6 CHAPTERS of my dissertation. Whoa. I was stumped. I was planning for 20. This is a slight deviation from what I intended.

It took the few days to ask my supervisor for a room number even though I knew that he wanted to preview my PowerPoint before our meeting. I was running out of time. What was I thinking??? Or not thinking. Nonetheless, my supervisor promptly replied with a room number while I was composing and posting a tweet on 6 SLIDES FOR 6 CHAPTERS. Moments later, he sent an unsolicited follow up email with the intentions of minimizing my stress regarding¬†6 slides for 6 chapters. He said 6 slides are great, 12 slides are fine, and 24 slides are too many. OMG. He must have read my Tweet!!! Not. He looked for my tweet after I asked him if he read it or not… and he LIKED it. This was a very serendipitous moment. He helped me on something I needed help on.

I needed to hear a few encouraging words… or words of advice… to change my lens on how I was approaching my PowerPoint presentation. Trust me. I have watched several YouTube videos, searched many webpages on preparing for the oral examination, and previewed some sample PowerPoint presentations online. I had an idea of what I needed to do but my supervisor (aka. teacher) quickly set me on the right path… or trajectory, shall I say… to get this task done. Oh… and I’m done. A handful of hours soon after our last email, I completed the task. It feels good.

This is the power of teaching and learning… I’m not sure if I’ve described it well or not, but it’s THE RELATIONSHIP. It’s more than liking or respecting each other… although, that helps. It’s about connecting at a cognitive level but almost intuitively where one is willing and able to help and the other is willing and able to receive. When this connection occurs at the right time, right place… MAGIC HAPPENS. I love this about teaching and learning. Without this relationship, magic would not happen.

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