When I was in teaching school (my pet name for all my education classes), one of my professors had a tagline:
The students are always learning.
He was trying to convey that sometimes what students learn is not what we think they’re learning.
One time this came to mind while teaching, I was watching another teacher work with several of my 8th-grade students. I don’t remember the exact question she had on the board, but it was something like
6 x 2 =
Okay, it wasn’t quite that easy, but it was a question that I fully expected the particular student she called on to answer correctly. He was a bright student, although he wasn’t a big fan of school. The exchange went this way:
Teacher: Student, what is the correct answer?
Student: No, I mean B.
Student: No, I mean C.
Teacher: Yes! That’s correct!
Then it hit me–the student hadn’t even tried to answer the question. He knew her cues! If she gave the wrong answer, she’d ask a question, but if he was correct she’d tell him immediately. He wasn’t learning the material, he was learning the teacher.
Tomorrow: What this means as a parent.