Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

You Are the Artist - the Classroom Is Your Canvas!

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

You Are the Artist - the Classroom Is Your Canvas!

Article excerpt

Teaching, like farming, is a cooperative art which helps nature do what it can do itself - though not as well without some intervention. We have all learned many things without the aid of a teacher. Some exceptional individuals have acquired wide learning and deep insight with very little formal schooling. But for most of us, the process of learning is made more certain and less painful when we have a teacher's input. The teacher's method of guidance makes our learning easier and more effective.

One basic aspect of teaching that is not found in farming, is farming's over dependence on nature. Teaching always involves a relationship between the mind of one person and the mind of another. The teacher is not merely a talking book, or an animated CD which is being broadcasted to an unknown audience. The teacher enters into a dialogue with an individual student or a group of students. This dialogue goes far beyond mere "talk," for a good deal of what is taught is transmitted almost unconsciously in the personal interchange between the teacher and the student. We might be able to get by with books, reference manuals, and computers, if it were not for the intangible element of personal interchange, which is present in every good teacher - student relationship.

Thus, without doubt, teaching is a two-way relationship. The teacher gives, and the student receives. Likewise, the student is a "disciple;" that is, the student accepts and follows the discipline prescribed by the teacher for the development of his or her mind. This is not a passive submission by the student or an arbitrary authority by the teacher. Teaching is an active appropriation by the student of the directions indicated by the teacher. The student uses a teacher just as a child uses his or her parents, as a means of attaining maturity and independence. The recalcitrant student, who spurns a teacher's help, is most often wasteful and self-destructive.

Viewing teaching through a different set of lenses, is teaching an art or a craft? Art and craft are closely related terms, craft applying to a lesser skill or emphasizing a technique, while art refers to a higher degree of creativity or creative achievements lying beyond technique. Whereas I accept dimensions of teaching that go beyond acquiring technical skills, I have some reservations about dwelling on teaching as only an art. …

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