teaching

What kind of teacher am I?

I thought this question worthwhile to answer. Perhaps one day this will become part of a more formalized teaching philosophy, and perhaps the audience to whom it is written will change. For now, however, my stream of consciousness answer will sit here, for my ponderance, for yours, and your comments.

I am the kind of teacher who believes that learning is everywhere. I am the kind of teacher who wants to know what you bring to the table, so you can use it to cultivate new things from new knowledge. I am the kind of teacher who takes your pulse frequently to see if I need to adjust how I’m doing things. I am the kind of teacher who flips things on end to see what things look like from a different angle. I am the kind of teacher who believes that you can learn where the boundaries of a box are from inside or outside of that box. I am the kind of teacher who lives to see the light bulb flash when you make a connection. I am the kind of teacher who is interested in your process, and believes that YOU are the product of your learning. I am the kind of teacher who blurs lines between teaching and learning, because I am the kind of teacher who helps you unpack and examine something, finds myself reorganizing it in a new way for myself too, and suddenly…I am a learner. I am the kind of teacher who expects to learn from you, and for you to teach each other. I am the kind of teacher who wonders…what kind of teacher are you?

Thoughts on Wikipedia

Wikipedia. The largest encyclopedia in the world. Of the world. For the world. We’re talking over 30 million articles in 287 languages, folks. Yet, in some disciplines and by some people, shunned as a source of information.

How then, is it useful for education?  An encyclopedia, by definition, is a summary of information about a plethora of subjects. There are the obvious things: 1) it’s a great starting point for finding general information 2) it can be useful in leading the reader to other possible sources. How about the not so obvious things? Let’s take healthcare as an example. Even if a healthcare professional holds the opinion that the information in Wikipedia is unreliable, you can pretty much bet that there are patients out there using it for information, and it is useful to know what they come to the table with. For students, this is a great starting point for basic information about a topic (disease state? medication? biological process?). What information is essential for the patient to have? What might they misinterpret? How could it be explained better? What references were used in the creation of the article (evaluate one or two). Is the information in the specific Wikipedia article accurate? If not…EDIT IT. Now we’re getting somewhere, aren’t we? Check out what is happening at UCSF, where they are doing exactly that.

What would you do in your own discipline? How could you not just USE Wikipedia, but PARTICIPATE in it?

Oh the thinks we can think, if only we try! ~Dr. Seuss