677 Robotics: Week 5

Essential Question:  What is the relationship between teaching and learning?

What a great question, what is the relationship between teaching and learning? I am not an official teacher, not yet anyway. I have been an instructor, a trainer, and a mother. Teaching to me seems very official. The very definition of teach is ideas or principles taught by an authority (merriam-webster.com). Teachers have been appointed to deliver a lesson plan or lecture. I am saddened by teachers that just read a textbook/slideshows and offer no opportunities for students to be engaged. They lose the chance to inspire their students through their teaching.

Learning is open and flexible. We are all learners. Teachers that learn with their students seem to bond with them through the experience. So to me teaching seems more one sided and learning is an open experience for all to participate. Learning is the activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught (merriam-webster.com).

I was an IT tech for the Anchorage School district for five years. I have been in all Anchorage schools, and I have seen many different approaches to teaching. I saw teachers that talked at their students; these students seemed to be less engaged. Then there were teachers who learned with their students. These kids were engaged and excelled compared to the other students. I have always wanted to be the type of teaching that inspired students that were not motivated to be inspired to learn. I want to show them the benefits that learning can bring and how easy it can be.

The relationship between teaching and learning to me go hand in hand. Of course, you can teach without your students learning – but why? More importantly, you can learn without teaching. We have discussed many concepts in this class where we offer students a place to learn and then let them discover new inventions on their own – without teaching.

I love this new movement in open concept. It reminds of two Steve Jobs statements that hang in my workspace:


I feel like the statements support Genius hour, you give the students the tools and workspace to tinker. Then step back and watch the genius surface.



Martinez, S. L., & Stager, G. (n.d.). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom.

Brownell, Sara E., and Tanner, Kimberly Dl. (2012 Winter). Barriers to Faculty Pedagogical Change: Lack of Training, Time, Incentives, and…Tensions with Professional Identity? Retrieved June 16, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3516788/

Park, H. (2008). You are confusing!: Tensions between Teacher’s and Students’ Discourses in the Classroom [Abstract]. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 43(1), 4-13. Retrieved June 13, 2016, from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ829005.pdf 





5 thoughts on “677 Robotics: Week 5

  1. clayedet637 says:

    Nice post, Josie!

    I appreciate how you tied this question into your experiences working as an IT tech in Anchorage schools. You’ve been able to observe many different teaching styles, to be sure, and been able to see the different reactions of students in these different environments. It’s interesting how you are able to pinpoint the teachers who learn right alongside their students, and the effect this has on student engagement and learning. I also like your Steve Jobs quotes and the connection you made to maker space and Genius hour.


  2. teresareflects says:

    Josie, I appreciate your insight as a former IT Tech and observer of classrooms in Anchorage. But I must say that you are a teacher as well as a learner. You may not be employed as a teacher on a contract yet but you still teach, especially as a parent.
    I can relate to the Steve Jobs quote about tools. As a teacher, I have knowledge of tools I can use to teach and I pick and choose which ones are going to work for each learning activity based on my students’ needs and the learning targets. I appreciate learning about tinkering and constructionism and see it as more tools I can use.
    I imagine that your unique experience as an IT Tech will give you a unique perspective as a teacher which will prove invaluable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tessiesim says:

    I love your statement, “Learning is open and flexible. We are all learners.” What an important reminder for us as teachers to let our students see that we don’t have all of the answers and can learn from them too. You also mention that if we only teach through lectures and don’t engage our students, we risk losing the chance to inspire them. I know when a student is enthusiastic about understanding a concept for the first time and connects with it personally, I have a huge sense of satisfaction and feel like I’m doing my job as a teacher. I tend to lose that feeling of excitement and purpose when I only use direct instruction. The struggle I have is how to balance the constructionist approach with the instructionist approach while still holding students’ attention and teaching the content I need to. Your experiences of observing teachers in many Anchorage schools gives you unique insight into many different teaching styles, so you can pick and choose the best aspects to incorporate into your own practice.


  4. catherinesquared says:

    I love the statement you made, “Teachers that learn with their students seem to bond with them through the experience.” I totally agree 100%! I constantly tell my students I learn from them everyday. I don’t see how in today’s society, anyone can possibly think talking at the students with no discussion is going to benefit them or is the best approach. Shouldn’t we also want to see things through our student’s eyes? From their perspective? Isn’t that who we are trying to reach? I don’t always have all the answers or approaches that are understandable to EVERY student, but sometimes one of the classmates does. I just can’t see not using our most valuable asset, our students.


  5. katemullin17 says:


    I have taught in many situations which could be considered challenging, but I didn’t know challenge until I had my own children. Being their first teacher has opened my eyes to many things, mainly humility.

    Your perspective on varying classroom teaching strategies is such an important one. So often, we operate in isolation, without the benefit of observing what might be working better in another classroom. Sometimes this isolation is by choice, but often it is due to factors beyond our immediate control (building design, schedules, etc). Those educators with a growth mindset continue to research and look for ways to make their instruction more effective. Those with a fixed mindset continue on as they always have.

    I just completed a certificate in gifted and talented education and some of the most valuable materials provided for the courses were videos of teachers implementing lessons in very different, yet effective, ways. As I watched, I would catch myself thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I made a note to myself to watch more videos of classroom teaching strategies. Reading about them is good, but seeing them in action is even better!

    Thanks for your perspective on this topic!

    Liked by 1 person

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