On Teaching and Learning

In classrooms, we observe teaching and learning. We expect these two activities are closely and positively related. The more and the better we teach, we reason, the more and the better students will learn. After more than 30 years in classrooms in a range of roles (some which have allowed me to be to proverbial “fly on the wall” who observed teaching at its best and worst) I am convinced learning is happening in all classrooms. Sometimes it reflects that the teacher intends. Often it does not. Sometimes the lessons are contrary to what the teacher intends. In many cases, students are learning “this topic has no relevance to me.” I am confident the relationship between what teachers teach and what students learn is neither as strong nor as positive as teachers believe.