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Saturday, April 7, 2012

notes on teaching

From Herbert's Kohl's I Won't Learn from You.
 "[Teachers] feel...that their work among the young is not a matter of gaining power over students so much as providing them with power."

This entire book (I'm about halfway through) is filled with these type of insightful reminders. I chose this one in particular because, as a teacher, everything I do is in service of empowering students, and yet I've never thought of my role as such—as a power-giver. But that's exactly what it is. I always design my lessons so that students can take one more step toward self-sufficiency (the place where they move with control and familiarity and confidence on the page). I know I've done my job when I've made myself obsolete—that is, when the student can assume all the responsibilities and, yes, consequences of a full-fledged rhetor.

In short, the teacherly task comes in giving the student as much power as he or she can effectively use, while, at the same time, remembering what we really mean by power: freedom, security, love.

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