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Veteran Educator to First-Year Teachers: Remember What It Means to Be a Learner

Veteran Educator to First-Year Teachers: Remember What it Means to Be a Learner

"Back then I was just a teacher. If only I could go back in time and tell myself what it means to be both a teacher and a learner," muses veteran educator Eric Carbaugh in a post for ASCD.

Carbaugh began his first-year of teaching as a world geography teacher for high school grade levels, and admits that despite his most valiant efforts, he struggled to connect with his students. Looking back and reflecting now, he has some advice for other first-year or new teachers and encourages all educators to consider their "narrative" to be the best in the profession as possible.

Carbaugh says that by all accounts, his first year should have gone well. He knew how to design activities, cover content, and to test and evaluate his students; he was supplied with many resources to help him facilitate his daily grind.

But he admits in retrospect through his work in his current position as an 8th year associate professor at the College of Education at James Madison University that he was going through the motions but not making an impact. His narrative, in other words, was falling short.

He knew what topics to cover with his students but admits to not being familiar with the outcomes he expected from them—he knew what to teach but not wasn't focused on what was actually being learned.

Over the years, he worked his way to obtaining a PhD in educational psychology, and through this process began to understand the process of how people acquire and understand information.

"No, we can't change our past, but we can change the narrative. Instead of being known as the high school world geography teacher who struggled his first year, I could be recognized as someone who assisted my first crop of future educators to avoid the same fate," he said.

He has several crucial elements to teaching he learned during his evolution as an educator that he would like to share with new teachers, developed along with Kristina J. Doubet, James Madison University:

1. Instruction and assessments are part of the interdependent process of instructional design.

2. Intentional alignment of instructional goals, learning experiences, and assessment leads to implementation of powerful and efficient instruction.

3. Students are academically, developmentally, and culturally diverse and differ in their approaches to learning.

4. Deep understanding of both students and content should drive instructional design.

"Remember what you value. And most important, remember what it means to be a learner."

Read his full post here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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