Comments for: Emphasis on Teaching

Students are People

Andrew Schulak

An interesting aspect of humanity is that we always have to be reminded of what we already know.

Reading this article is one such excercise. Not much for me since my focus is on humanity -- I constantly am more aware of people around me and their moods, problems, feelings than I am of mine. Not that I do not know how I feel, I just tend to place more importance on those around me.

But I would say the great majority of people are not constantly aware of the people around them in this manner. And a reminder like this is a great excercise for all of us. Why? Because the people we teach, the people we meet, are human beings just like us. They are no different. Each person is another I, full of thoughts, pains, successes and imaginary worlds.

This is something we tend to forget when we interact with people during the day. We meet people and act with them as if they were objects, things different from ourselves. This common misconception allows us to mistreat these people by reducing away their humanity. Not doing this is very important when it comes to education. For as educators it is our duty to try to engage all of our students as our human equals. That means we do have to appeal to their creative sides, their vices, their strengths and their weaknesses.

We have to tailor our teaching methods to their learning abilities. For what good is a radio playing a song if no one is around to listen? Whenever we step onto our soap boxes to proclaim (or teach) something we tend to forget that humanity is messy and dirty. That human beings do not live up to our lofty ideals of pure and clean knowledge. But we also forget that knowledge is dirty too. Whenever we try to hold our fellow human beings to ideals that they cannot meet something is going to be lost, and in this case it is knowledge. We must bring our vaunted view of knowledge down into the realm of the learner and attempt to teach the person, not the material.