Academic journal article English Journal

From the Editors

Academic journal article English Journal

From the Editors

Article excerpt

Teaching is not a purely technical act. We have all worked with students who are defiant or apathetic in our class, but are earnest and engaged in a colleague's class. We have all experienced groups of learners who energize and delight us as well as groups that are, perhaps, less inspiring. The curriculum is consistent, our identities are constant; what explains these variations?

Teaching cannot be reduced to a replicable set of algorithms. Teachers understand that these variations can be explained by the humans who populate, inhabit, and shape our learning environments. "First days" of new classes are exciting (and a little bit scary) precisely because we can't predict what our courses will be like until we meet the people with whom we will cultivate our shared spaces. Authentic teaching and learning occur at the intersection of teacher, student, and content; the texts we co-construct reflect who we are individually, who we are together, and who we hope to become.

Meaningful teaching involves relationships. Teachers realize that who our students are affects how they learn. Who they are influences how they have experienced school, how they think about themselves as learners, and how they interact with texts. Consequently, knowing students, which can only happen by forging relationships built on genuine interest, is an essential aspect of meaningful teaching. Moreover, an absence of focus on knowing and caring about who our learners are is a significant omission that affects how students interact with us, with each other, and with the content we seek to teach.

Classroom cultures, and school cultures, shape and are shaped by relationships. Relationships are central to teaching and learning, and since schools are built for the purpose of learning, relationships are a fundamental component of schools. Teaching is an intensely human undertaking, yet teachers often feel isolated and drained by the everyday work of negotiating often-competing needs of young people, colleagues, administrators, parents, community members, and policymakers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.