What makes a good instructor?

Throughout our discussion, I was really struck by how powerful the idea of what makes someone a good teacher is and how do you define that. In the posts by Ferriter, his defensiveness about his teaching seemed to play a great part in how he seemed to dislike media specialists, as if their being a good teacher took away from his teaching. Throughout our various discussions, it was fascinating to hear how he really isn’t facing the same job worries as a media specialist might be and so that was filtering through. As we were talking online, I realized that one of the wonderful things about communicating online is that you have time to consider and think about what you say though not everyone does. I think this blogger is an example of someone who doesn’t quite understand just how they will be perceived online so he gets on his soapbox and then feels confused when people disagree especially when he uses phrases like well I know some media specialists and they’re nice.

The other aspect that I really wanted to mention since its been in my head a lot from the readings and discussion is how do you make a paper or a project work on a deeper level. Part of what brought this into my mind was that within these last two weeks, I’ve had two papers that were very similar in terms of style but the way I felt about them was worlds away. Both of them were analyzing how non-profits use and create a web presence. In one, I was able to choose three organizations and dissect their web presence, a simple assignment yet by giving me ownership of what I was looking at, it became more powerful. While the other one, I was told what organization and exactly what things I would be recommending and the format so really the only choice that I had was in the words I used. I think this really shows well how tricky it can be to find that balance of proving you know something and something that’s easy to assess.

Since most of the kinds of knowledge that educators really want to promote is difficult to assess quickly. If you want someone to show that they’re a critical thinker than you need to provide them space to examine things on a deeper level and the freedom to find something that they wish to look at on a deeper level too. In the world of standardized testing, that can be hard which is something I found a lot in the blog post. He sounded jealous that he couldn’t do those deeper kinds of assignments which I don’t think he meant to, but I read it that way.

I’m not sure if I was able to really come to any nice simple conclusions this week other than good instruction is a complicated and powerful thing and I think a lot of people out there are trying to find ways to make sure it happens. Yet its complicated and especially good collaborative teachers requires a lot of give and take all around as does sharing knowledge, but that can help inspire students to listen and learn together too.



Filed under school library management reflection

2 responses to “What makes a good instructor?

  1. Kristin

    Instruction is a very complex piece of the library puzzle, and it’s why you take 641. It’s almost impossible to divorce that content from instruction, however. Student learning drives everything we do! You might enjoy browsing this year’s issues of School Library Monthly, where we run a monthly column with a pretty crummy (but realistic!) lesson design and invite people to tweak it to raise the level of learning. Let me know – I can bring one for you to browse!

    • I actually am getting School Library Monthly, its just a matter of finding the time to look through it but I’ll search for that. It seems like instruction is one of those things where it might be easy to see what doesn’t work but truly figuring out what does and making it work is just hard.

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