As I’ve tried to sort research on teaching writing into logical categories, I keep getting the feeling that best practices are not so much a teacher’s actions but are primarily descriptions of the teacher’s attitudes toward learning, knowledge and students.
For example, we know from research as well as experience that repetition aids in learning a skill. Applying that best practice requires certain teacher attitudes. The teacher must:
- Be patient as the inept struggle to become competent.
- Observe closely to see what may be keeping a student from learning.
- Be willing to try different approaches with different students.
- Focus on the goal.
- Put up with the boredom of teaching basics over and over and over.
It has also occurred to me that best teaching practices can be applied to poor goals — or even to bad ones. We can prepare students for careers as farriers, but if there are no horses to be shod, what have we accomplished?
Photo credit: “Rusty Horseshoe” uploaded by Maerik