Wow! I feel like I haven’t blogged in a month, which is about how long it took to read the article at this site: http://durandus.com/phaedrus/2008/03/17/the-cute-cat-theory/. However, I have a tendency to investigate every link in a blog or article and that takes time, too. In this case, the time was well spent. There is so much information in this article. For me, it is like an “everything you ever wanted to know about Internet technology, but didn’t know you wanted to know” (until you read it) document. I am convinced now more than ever that I need to learn programming languages. If we notice that our online content in this country is starting to appear severely compromised or blocked, someone in our crowd should know how to work around those blocks. This may sound a little paranoid, but this article conjured up thoughts about the monks, priests, and kings in times past who controlled the general population by not allowing them to learn to read and write.
Or, perhaps, we might want to block content. This need might occur. One never knows for sure. We might become part of a post-apocalyptic group trying to survive. Okay, maybe I have gone too far. The point is that programming knowledge and the ability to use ALL the Internet tools would be extremely useful. The ability to share information encrypted and non-encrypted would help us advance our agendas.
But, back to the question of “Why Teach?” The article that is the subject of this blog seems to indicate that when people are stirred by a personal reason to learn how to do something, they will learn to do it. Much unintended learning takes place when we are trying to achieve a specific learning goal. That is a good consequence of the efforts made by the teacher who has created the assignment and the learner who is making the effort to comply with the lesson’s requirements. We are accustomed to having a teacher point the way to get us started.
On the subject of pointing the way, these articles, http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2006/05/30/my-talk/ and http://www.lunchoverip.com/2007/04/dont_speak_poin.html provide examples of new ways of learning and maybe even teaching in the 21st century. It is difficult to summarize the content, but generally stated, the main idea is that with Web 2.0 and Internet technology world events are reported directly to everyone who has a connection. We don’t have to wait for a television or written report. Also, we have the ability to organize and take a stand whenever necessary. All of the connections are there to point us in the right direction.
Another thought that I had about teaching is that most of the teachers that I know love to learn. Perhaps we try to teach because we think that deep down everyone loves to learn. How could you not? Acknowledging the fact that all students don’t share my enthusiasm for learning was not easy. Still, I try to generate enthusiasm and sometimes I am successful. Those are the moments that I know why I teach. Maybe it is because at that moment I am learning something that worked with my students. Interestingly, though, many of those moments are completely unplanned.
Moreover, I think teaching is necessary because we need to have an organized system of education. Thought control (Thank you, Pink Floyd.) should be avoided, but rather children should be taught to think. The beauty of being a 21st century learner is that thought control by any institution is difficult because information is available from every perspective and the learner must learn to think, discern, and make choices.