After reading chapter two: There is no Teaching Without Learning of Paulo Freire’s book: Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage, it came to my mind what kind of knowledge should a professor acquire, so the cause of teaching will have a learning effect .
Most of you are currently struggling as teaching assistance because there is no other option to obtain that so well received assistantship. Since the first day, this has been a topic of discussion in every class, where students share their anecdotes to get feedback from the others to feel that they are on the right track and of course, to feel that most of them are in the same situation. But let me tell you something, I believe there is no right solution to these “issues” on how you should teach. You can’t decide whether you should only be “cool”, “funny” or even if you should talk about your daily anecdotes to make the students feel comfortable in your class.
Everybody has a different perspective of how should a college professor should be. Im sure most of you have seen the following meme that shows the different perspectives that people have about what it means to be a college professor. (http://metapreneurship.net/college-professors-meme/). The picture is self explanatory, but as you can see even the actual professor thinks he does something that he is not really doing. Should we act like Mr. Burns as the villain and wreck the students lives or should we help students open their minds and find what they really want in their life as Robin William did with Matt Damon?
Learning to be a Learner might be the hardest thing to accomplish since we are trying to learn what we should learn, to find our Authentic Teaching Self. Finding your Authentic Teaching Self can be a difficult task, however is not an impossible one to achieve. One of the things that I have noticed from the professors is how they behave to get the attention of the students during a lecture. According to a paper published by Diane M. Bunce et al, How Long Can Students Pay Attention in Class? A Study of Student Attention Decline Using Clickers, the authors mentioned that if a student does not have the enough motivation during a lecture, they will pay attention for an average of 10-20 min (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/ed100409p). This means that if you made the wrong choice on how to approach the students, you will see the effect of the attention decline after 10 min of starting the lecture. So, we ask ourselves again what could be the best practice to apply in college in order to not transfer knowledge but to create the possibilities for the production or construction of knowledge, as mentioned by Paulo Freire?
As connected learner that we are the first thing that came to my mind was: “let me google best practice in college” to find the answer; the first thing that I found was: A Brief Summary of the Best Practices in College Teaching (http://teaching.uncc.edu/learning-resources/articles-books/best-practice/ins tructional-methods/best-practices-summary). Just by reading the title I told myself: “I finally got the answer that I needed”, but all of you know that is not that simple. Even though the document was divided into 12 specific and well explained areas that the author believe you should concentrate to follow the best practices in college, it will not make you find your Authentic Teaching Self.
There is a lot to cover in this topic, however the question will always remain open no matter whom tries to summarize best practices to become the “ideal college professor”. I believe the professor has two options, either he/she adjust to each individual student or treat every student as a whole. The problem with the first one is that due to the constant changing, the professor will not have a own identity and the second one will have an impact on the students since not every student have the same knowledge. You can’t speak only in English in a class with different student from around the world, you have to talk to them individually in their own language in order for them to learn from the one that was once a learner.