Saturday, 27 August 2016

Authenticity as an Ally in Teaching (From Aug 21)

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Authenticity as an Ally in Teaching

As far as I can remember, I knew straight from high school that if I were to ever teach, I wouldn't be like 90% of the teachers I had then. Days felt like years, and their interest as an ally in my learning was as fictitious as their interest in keeping my daily beatings from bullies to a minimum.

That aside, Brooksfield writes in his chapter on 'What Students Value in Teachers' that teachers who are authentic "are perceived to be allies in learning who are trustworthy, open, and honest in their dealings with students." (p. 67)

While my classroom will most likely contain adults, and bullying less of a worry, there is still a considerable amount of stress and tension that can be enhanced or removed by my behaviour as an instructor.

I understand from years of working in technical support, user experience design, and training new employees that there are learning curves that are matched by some, and not by others. It's a nature of how our minds work, and I'm genuinely interested in helping each and every one of my students go from where they are, to where they want to be.

Walking students through basics of computer literacy is paramount. Brooksfield mentions a "congruence between words and actions" (p. 67), but I prefer to hold my students' hands (figuratively, of course) through their initial steps. Computer literacy contains the basic building blocks of communication and function in most occupations and daily life in today's society.

My goal is to make the process of learning and practicing these skills as effortless for them as possible. It can seem daunting, but when taught correctly (subjective for each student), it can be quite effortless; for some it may even be enjoyable.

That said, I intend to remain transparent as a person, and genuinely care for my students to shape their learning to meet their intentions as best I can. This includes walking them through steps, responding to inquiries and feedback, as well as being personable. I've been in fields from technical support to development, and I understand communication flaws on many points on the spectrum that can prevent people from understanding how to interact with technology.

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