Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Teachers Who Learn and Learners Who Teach

They go hand in hand-teaching and learning.  One's gifts may be weighted more heavily on one side than the other, but I feel you would be hard pressed to find one without the other.  
Stereotypes as "those who can't -teach", or the sad demise of a passion left to "simply teaching" irk me to the core.  All of us are teachers.  All of us are learners. 
Homeschooling has provided fertile soil for both of these gifts to grow.  Now, as I see today, it does not appear that any of my kids will be teaching as a profession.  However, they practice teaching daily.  Having a large family with a significant age range does help, but I truly believe there is more to it.  
Peer teaching has always had its place in a traditional classroom.  I have seen it work.  But it seems limited to the strongest teaching the weakest.  Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a place for that.  However, most of our kids fall in the middle.  
My kids are not geniuses.  Each thrives and excels in varying subjects.  Another treasure I have unearthed in my homeschool journey is watching my kids teach each other -willingly-on their own.  They have traversed through similar scopes and sequences and have each climbed to different heights.  Inevitably they have had opportunity to work alongside a sibling and share what they have learned.  
The other day my little man was working on an experiment involving sugar crystals.  It did not work.  He was thinking out loud, when Princess chimed in.  They sat together, mulled over the problem, and came up with a solution.  She taught what she had learned previously and worked with her brother so he could fix his experiment.  He then took what he learned into the classroom (the only class he takes out of our home this year) and shared with others who experienced similar problems.  Again, the learner became the teacher.  
It happens time and again.  When you peek into your kids' day, you may be surprised to find it as well.  Encouraging a learning environment, fostering the desire to learn, and providing the freedom to teach are all essential to growing these gifts in our children.  
I am a teacher by trade, but teaching is not just my job.  I am also a learner.  In order to do one, I need to be the other.  
What are some ways that you encourage both teaching and learning in your home?

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