Teachers are the experts. In some very real ways, we should be most of the time. As a history teacher, I should understand deeply my content area. But I shouldn't create a class where I have to know everything. I will have failed it I do that. Teachers shouldn't, really shouldn't set up a class where they have to be the expert all of the time. Instead, teachers should set up class in a way that encourages students to play the role of expert. Too often, a teacher has a certain idea in mind and wastes time asking when we should be telling. Instead, the questions we ask should be probing and asking students to make their own meaning and find their own answers. Of course of course, sometimes mastery of some facts matter. But how often?
How many teacher led "discussions" have you seen where the real game is for students to guess what is in they teacher's head? "Anyone, anyone, Bueller?" Of course this scene exaggerates, but by how much? This bastardization of the Socratic method too often passes for teaching. We've all seen it. Surely in my sloppier moments, I've done it.
So, to remind myself and others, here are some thoughts and tips.
1) Learning shouldn't be about giving answers!