Blog challenge: a quote that defines your teaching style

 

 

It seems every month there’s a new entrance in the blogosphere and it is such a pleasure when that new person’s angle brings something fresh to your own practice.  Jemma Gardner comes to mind when I say this.  She raised an issue in her recent post (with a whopping 73 comments) that has sparked my first blog challenge of 2012.

She discussed attitude and quoted Scott Thornsbury’s A-Z of ELT: “Your attitude to language learning is the way you feel about it”. (page 20).  However, Jemma encouraged her readers to substitute “teaching” for “learning”.

 

What is your attitude towards teaching ?

I challenge you to find a quote that embodies your attitude and then tells us why.

 

Ok… I’ll go first ;-)

 

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.

Kahil Gibran

 

I love how this quote hits a number of points so succinctly:  student-centered, zone of proximal development and that we are leaders who serve as an example of how focusing outwards can produce the greatest results.

 

So… what’s your quote ?


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About Brad

--- i'm a learner-teacher, language geek, outdoorsy kind-of-guy --- U might miss the next tweet... Wanna subscribe by email ? ;-)
 
  • http://twitter.com/BarryJamesonELT BarryJamesonELT

    “Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right
    answers.”

    Josef Albers

  • Phil Chappell

    I always love a quote from Vygotsky: “we become ourselves through others”. It embodies my understanding of how we learn and also what should constitute good teaching: interaction, modelling, collaboration, co-constructing knowledge, and guiding learners to understandings of how to use language in different social and cultural contexts.

    Phil Chappell

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    love it. Thanks for sharing, Barry !

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Wonderful, and applicable to life in general just as much to teaching.  Reminds me of a quote Cecilia Lemos, an inspiring teacher from Brazil, has on her email signature:  ”A teacher sees the world in a par­tic­u­lar way, and it is not only when he is in a school. I am a teacher all the time.” (Christopher Rogers)

    Thanks for sharing, Phil.

  • http://twitter.com/jemjemgardner Jemma Gardner

    Hi Brad, 

    I am honoured to have inspired yet another post from you. What a great challenge?! 

    Here’s (one of) mine - 

    “The gift of a great teacher is creating an awareness of greatness in others.” 

    From The Tao of Teaching by G. Nagel (1994). 

    This to me encapsulates the importance of confidence building, something which I have seen work wonders with so many students. It also compliments another quote from the same book - 

    “A wise teacher lets others have the floor.” 

    We are not supposed to be the important thing in the room. It’s our learners who deserve that position. 

    Look forward to reading more of people’s quotes. 

    Have a fabulous weekend!
    Jem

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    How am I not surprised that I love the quotes you’ve shared ;-)

    By the way, just for kicks, one of Anthony’s post talked about the chinese character “tao” and if you didn’t catch my chinese etymology write-up on it… it’s worth a gander:  http://teachertrainingunplugged.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/teaching-tao-n-zen/

    Enjoy the weekend too, Jem !

  • louise taylor

    Love the idea of this challenge! For me it’s:
    “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery” (Mark van Doren, poet)

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    I’m seeing some very common threads among all of our quotes. Nice, nice !
    Thanks again for your contribution, Louise ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/brenbrennan bren brennan

    Not from any great text/author, just little old me,
    And I came up with it off the top of my head coz I”m busy, innit!
    As I think that you can’t teach a language, it can only be ‘learnt’, I would have to say:

    “Make people happy to teach themselves”
    :)

  • http://twitter.com/brenbrennan bren brennan

    Not from any great text/author, just little old me,
    And I came up with it off the top of my head coz I”m busy, innit!
    As I think that you can’t teach a language, it can only be ‘learnt’, I would have to say:

    “Make people happy to teach themselves”
    :)

  • http://civitaquana.blogspot.com/ Janetbianchini

    “Teach from the heart, and look into the eyes of your students”.

    I think this quote sums up my teaching style.  Give your heart and soul to your profession, but keep checking you are going in the right direction by really looking into your students’ eyes to check they are indeed “with you”. 

    This has stood me in good stead over the past 3 decades.  I once almost  “lost” a class and it was obvious by their body language they were not happy with the direction I was steering.  I could see it in their eyes.  So I changed the direction by having an open heart to heart with them. This was not something I had often had to do in my teaching career, but I knew it was necessary to avoid a sinking ship situation, with everyone jumping off.  I actually remember saying to them, a group of eminent high-flying professors, “I sense there is something wrong.  What are you thinking?  I can see in your eyes that some of you are not happy.  What can we do?” 

    It became apparent in the ensuing frank and open discussion that there had been a misunderstanding of what their needs actually were.  I got them to tell me what they wanted and most importantly, HOW they wanted the sessions to be organised. It was in their hands.  I was the captain but without a crew fully onboard, the ship would go nowhere fast.

     This cleared the air and it turned out to be one of the best classes I’ve ever taught. It was plain sailing after that quite scary moment of admitting I hadn’t got it right with them.

     The general feedback at the end of the short 2-week course was very good. What a disaster it would have been if I hadn’t noticed and looked into their eyes!!!

    Thanks, Brad, for this thought-provoking challenge!

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Nice, Bren ! Certainly a fan of original sayings ;-) By the way, did you know that Old English word for “teach” was actually laeran… which is where we get learn today !

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=teach

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Thanks for sharing that story, Janet.  I’m going to be honest and say I’ve been there too.  Not easy to have an open discussion in that way and I’ve had to do it twice in 10 years.  Once was my own issue of not having enough time to prepare for class (won’t get into how I was working 70+ hrs at that time), and the second time it was with a tougher group, but both times these kinds of discussions helped.  

    I really identify with the visual connection and think many teachers would too.  It’s very important to be able to read the feeling of the classroom and a lot comes through the eyes (or doesn’t… if they won’t meet yours, which is just as revealing).

    Merci Janet !

  • http://twitter.com/brenbrennan bren brennan

    Well, B, thanks for clearing that up.
    I was going to put, “Make people happy to learn themselves”, but I thought it sounded dodgy!  :)

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    haha… yeah, we do our best to keep things ‘in-line’… most of the time ;-) Bon weekend, bud !

  • Sylvie_guinan

    Feed and flow…..
    I feed my students with quirky brain bites & then sit back and watch the language flow.

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    I love all the FL… words in romance languages. fluid, flow, fluent, flood… you can feel the flow !

    Would love to be a fly on your classroom wall (or skype wall), Sylvie !
    Cheers, Brad

  • http://twitter.com/naomishema Naomi Epstein

    Brad!
    Can hardly keep up with the pace of your posts!
    Such awesome quotes here already!
    I’ll add one that the special ed. teacher in me strives to live up to:
    “All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others”

    Michael Carr

    Naomi

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Love it, Naomi.  Thanks for being such a strong PLN member.  I really do enjoy the exchange that goes on here, your blog, Ty’s blog and at so many other folks’… the insights you all share truly did push me to reach a bit further, think a bit harder and bring that back into the classroom.  MERCI !!!!

  • Nihal Yildirim

    ”Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and
    three-fourths theatre.” Gail Godwin

    Doesn’t matter if I teach young learners or adults, this is my attitude towards teaching. Having a good material of course and performing it out like an actress :)

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Great quote, Nihal.  I know a number of teachers can identify with that, myself included.  ;-)

  • Vicky Loras

    Hi Brad!

    I love this super whoop whoop blog challenge – it also inspires me as a great way to start the year! I absolutely loved all the quotes I read from all the super educators (including yourself, it goes without saying!) above – I will add mine too : ) I hope the person who wrote it will forgive me for not remembering who it was, or if it was exaclty like that, but the quote said, “A good teacher is always a learner.” And I love one that my dad told me once, “Learning is not only in school. You can learn something from everything and everyone.”

    Fantastic blog challenge, good stuff!!!

    Hugs,
    Vicky

  • http://twitter.com/leoselivan Lexical Leo

    I like Nihal’s quote too. I actually used it last summer when organising a treasure hunt for a group of teachers. This quote served as one of the clues :)
    LEO

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    NICE !

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Ah… Daddy Loras is indeed very right.  ;-)  Like your other quote too as I see teaching and learning really as two shades of a very beautiful art— awareness to details, be they a language, a word, a person, a class sitting in front of you.  Good stuff !!!!  Merci Vicky

  • http://twitter.com/AnthonyGaughan Anthony Gaughan

    You might be surprised to see me quoting Mike Muir from the band Suicidal Tendencies as an influence, but there you go:

    Just ’cause you don’t understand what’s going on
    Don’t mean it don’t make no sense
    And just ’cause you don’t like it
    Don’t mean it ain’t no good…
    (quote from “You Can’t Bring Me Down” off the album “Lights, Camera, Revolution”)

    As a teacher trainer, I need to keep this attitude while watching teachers at work, or else I run the risk of judging their work by how far it concords with my preferences.  Also, it is part of the attitude I would like them to adopt, as often beginning teachers lose sight of the fact that their own preferences and way of thinking and making sense are not universal or superior.

    It also might just be germane to the ongoing “What’s the point of Dogme?” discussion, but I’ll pass over that in silence (ahem…)

    Plus it’s a really great track that gets me psyched up for work when nothing else will ;-)

  • Elizabeth Anne

    Hey! that Suicidal Tendancies quote is so much spoken like a true dogmetist ! 

    I rather like “the aim of a good teacher is to make themselves redundant”

    my degrowth sympathies showing through :-)

  • http://twitter.com/lauraahaha Laura Patsko

    Hey Brad,

    Good challenge and I love the selection of quotes offered so far!  One of my faves which I mentioned once on my blog I think was:

    “Teacher, enjoy yourself, or you’ll bore us.”

    I never did find out where this came from originally, but I heard it from Chaz Pugliese at IATEFL last year.  It sums up the one defining characteristic all good teachers I’ve ever had had in common – they loved their subject so evidently that their enthusiasm wore off on their students, like me!  Even if I wouldn’t have been disposed to excel at that subject in the first place.  That’s the powerful influence a teacher can have.

    Laura :)

  • http://iasku.wordpress.com/me/ Chiew Pang

    I am a simple man so I sing a simple song…know that one? My quote is simple: 
    “Be water, my friend” – Bruce Lee
    Yeah, Tao and all that. It’s the softest yet the strongest, flexible yet firm. It can be what you want it to be. It’s always there, in any one of its three states…

  • DanielaHiga

    A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. ~Thomas Carruthers
    I believe fostering learner autonomy is just as important as the teaching of the subject matter itself. We can only be with our students for a couple of hours a day or so, and we wish we had more time to help them, share what we know with them and show them how wonderful the English language is… but we don’t. So, in my view, the least we can do is teach them how to keep teaching themselves, so to speak, outside the classroom.

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Cheers for the originality, Anthony.

    It’s very easy to slip into the frame of mind that we’ve got it all figured out, and it’s nice to see that as a trainer you keep reminding yourself to stay open-minded about what the teachers in front of you are searching for.  Bravo !

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    love that word redundant… always makes me think of the ‘wave’ hiding in it in the form of ‘unda’
     http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=redundant

    Fan of the quote, too.  Merci Elizabeth et bon semestre à toi ;-)

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”… one of Mike Hogan’s favorite quotes.  Very lucky to have found something that we enjoy.

    Merci 4 stopping by, Laura !

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    nice… and just for kicks, i’ll share a few chinese characters cuz you brought up tao.

    道 or Tao (which I’ve shared a link explaining it above for Jem)

    and 水 which is water, and originally it looked like 3 wavey lines descending down the page, kind of like a little flowing stream.

    A method in chinese is the verb “go” 去 and “water”… hence the “way the water goes” = 法 … happens to also be the romanization for France because the sound of the character is FA, kind of like F(r)Ance … 法国 (fa country).

    Merci Chiew !

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    yes, yes, yes !  That was a lot of what was behind another post I had here in October:

    http://blog.edulang.com/what-is-the-greatest-gift-a-teacher-can-give-a-student/

    I agree 100% because unfortunately, it takes a lot more time than we could possibly spend in the classroom to learn a language, so we can show them how to use their wings and then hope they’ll start soaring ;-)   Thanks Daniela !

  • Leandra Dias

    ” I see things and say “why?”
    But I dream things and say “Why not?”

    George Bernard Shaw

    Teaching is making dreams come true through other people’s reality . And I always question myself  ”Why not?”

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    I love the simplicity, symmetry and truth to this quote.  Merci 4 the share, Leandra! 

  • Smithl1991

    The undependent, empathetic instructor who kneels before the learner so they may stand on my shoulders.

  • http://twitter.com/AlexandraGuzik Alexandra Guzik

                                           ’Children are born with wings, teachers help them fly.’
    It’s a student-centered dogme-style quote, if remember how birds are taught. The little ones are thrown out of the nest and are helped when their strength is not enough to come back to their nest. In bird life it’s a mum-bird, in ELT life it’s a teacher who is the mum. Just like a dogme lesson: give students a topic and then help with the language problems that prevents them from ‘flying’ (speaking fluently).

  • Johanna

    Here I go with two :

    “They have something of which they are proud. What do they call that which makes them proud? Education they call it; it distinguishes them from goatherds”

    “To educate educators! But the first ones must educate themselves! And for these I write.”

    These quotations are from F. NIETZSCHE (1844 – 1900), Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

    I hope it will help to go further with thinking about the attitude. You can also take some goat cheese if you are hungry!!

    BTW : when we teach … don’t we learn?

  • Vasmeli

    I feel teaching and learning are both about generosity

  • Sylvie_guinan

    Brad, my last online class in 2011 was a collaboration with an ELT RAP singer & I took some screen casts.

    It’s on my blog.

  • Sylvie_guinan

    Johanna  – you have just reminded me of this great quote;

    ‘To teach is to learn twice’ – Joseph Joubert….

    Speaking of quotes, I’ve yet to find a personal motto that can beat William Butler Yeats -

    “Education is not the filling of a pail, it’s the lighting of a fire”

    However the meaning of this quote have evolved for me over time…I used to think that it meant the teacher should be some kind of performing genius, holding minds captive as a magician would….

    Now I realise that, for me, the true meaning is much simpler and much nicer.
    and an analogy of the mind has just occurred to me….

    If we think of logic & left-brain functioning as a wet meadow after a storm, and think of the right brain as a meadow dried and warmed by the sun – it would seem that all we need is a magnifying glass to ignite the meadow of neurons, which will then warm up the stubborn left brain meadow too, and our students will take over the linguistic show with fiery, whole-brain brilliance …

    So all we need is a little sun & a magnifying glass!!

  • http://salis.gr/wordpress/ Sylvia Guinan

    Johanna  – you have just reminded me of this great quote;

    ‘To teach is to learn twice’ – Joseph Joubert….

    Speaking of quotes, I’ve yet to find a personal motto that can beat William Butler Yeats -

    “Education is not the filling of a pail, it’s the lighting of a fire”

    However the meaning of this quote have evolved for me over time…I used to think that it meant the teacher should be some kind of performing genius, holding minds captive as a magician would….

    Now I realise that, for me, the true meaning is much simpler and much nicer.
    and an analogy of the mind has just occurred to me….

    If we think of logic & left-brain functioning as a wet meadow after a storm, and think of the right brain as a meadow dried and warmed by the sun – it would seem that all we need is a magnifying glass to ignite the meadow of neurons, which will then warm up the stubborn left brain meadow too, and our students will take over the linguistic show with fiery, whole-brain brilliance …

    So all we need is a little sun & a magnifying glass!!

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Great quote, Roya and I have a similar learning style so I can relate.

    Funny that Confucius quote is one that I shared with all of my Chinese students at the beginning of every year; I also shared “A teacher opens the door, but the student must walk through”.

    Cheers, Brad

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Love the direction of your quote.  Humility is a skill many of us could improve while in class.  Thanks for sharing.  

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    You told me I’d like your quote, Alexandra and I’m not in the least disappointed ;-)  Would love to see how you’re helping your students fly.  I’m sure I’d learn a bunch by observing you ELT mum-bird style !  Love the image.  Cheers, Brad

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Hi Johanna.  Thanks for stopping by again.

    I think most of us would say we learn while we teach, and as I mentioned above in Bren’s comment, even the word learn and teach were once the same in Old English.  Have never read Nietzsche despite all I’ve heard over the years.  Thanks for sharing!  Goat cheese, huh… I think I’d eat it all before I ever got to class ;-)    Cheers, Brad

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Thanks again for your contribution, Sylvie.  It truly is a wonderful process to observe our evolution over the years.  I thought I knew so much about teaching just a few years ago, and funny as it is, I think the more I learn, the more I realize that I have that much more to learn !

    Cheers, Brad

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    I like the simplicity of this, and yet the analogy of a generous teacher and a generous learner is one that could be expanded in so many ways.  Thanks !  Cheers, Brad

  • Johanna

    Hi Sylvie,

    Très poétique. And I agree with Yeats.
    The sun and the glass are our commitment, energy and personnality which are real tools to teach. The other tool of course is the expertise, thus teachers have to be “educated”. Maybe can we find both parts of the brain here again!

  • http://www.tmenglish.org/ Stephen Greene

    ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’

    Not sure who first came up with this phrase but it was popularised by Marx.  I think it sums up the way I try to teach and encourage others to teach, i.e. teach to the very best of your ability and teach what is needed by your students.

  • http://blog.edulang.com/5-quotes-to-share-with-language-learners/ 5 quotes to share with language learners | A journée in language

    [...] all over the world.  If you haven’t checked out them out, it’s worth a click-through here. Continuing with the same trend, I thought of quotes that I like sharing with my students, quotes [...]

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Great quote, Stephen, and definitely one to keep in mind.  Needs-based teaching is definitely very important.  Cheers, Brad

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Great quote, Stephen, and definitely one to keep in mind.  Needs-based teaching is definitely very important.  Cheers, Brad

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Great quote, Stephen, and definitely one to keep in mind.  Needs-based teaching is definitely very important.  Cheers, Brad

  • http://macappella.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/quote-unquote/ Quote unquote | macappella

    [...] Patterson, aka @brad5patterson, asked people to choose a quote that best fits their teaching philosophy. After no small amount of pondering, and hoping that Erich [...]

  • http://twitter.com/Ayshmarq Maryam Cassim

    Good teaching- Sharing and caring while learning and earning.

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Exactly.  Thanks for sharing, Maryam.

  • http://ihabloespanglish.blogspot.com/ JenniferM

    Well, I love quotations so it was super hard for me to choose JUST ONE… but I think this one does a pretty good job: 

    “The greatest gift one can give to another person is a
    deeper understanding of life and the ability to love and believe in the
    self.” – Fred Rogers

    Although I can’t resist including one of my favorite Thoreau quotes as well: 

    “You
    must get your living by loving, or at least half your life is a failure.” — Henry David Thoreau

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    I love Thoreau’s work.  Great quotes and thanks for sharing, Jennifer !

  • http://twitter.com/HansenLaurie Laurie Hansen

    Brad- this is wonderful!  I love using quotes!  I am a visual person and I actually have a graphic that best expresses what I enjoy most about teaching, especially in my current position as faculty developer/trainer.  Thanks for inspiring a blog post!  http://vicariosityblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/its-nice-to-share.html

    ~Laurie

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Thanks for sharing, Laurie.  Enjoyed the illusion you shared in place of a quote !

    Cheers, Brad

  • http://fourc.ca/teachquote/ A quote for teachers | 4C in ELT

    [...] People say beautiful, succinct, powerful sentiments all the time that I want to remember.  I wish I had a pen and a notebook at these times.  On occasions I do, but I forget to use them. As a result, I rarely remember who, but I don’t forget the what.  Thank God for Google: it can come in handy for challenges like the one Brad Patterson just urges. [...]

  • http://www.mikejharrison.com/2012/01/teacher-beliefs/ Teacher beliefs » mikejharrison

    [...] also gives me the opportunity to fulfill a blog challenge from Brad, a quote to sum up my teaching philosophy a little bit at least. This is actually something I first [...]

  • David Petrie

    Hi Brad,
    thanks for the challenge – really made me sit down and have a think!  
    here’s my contribution:  http://teflgeek.net/2012/01/19/teaching-beliefs-teaching-style/
    see what you think!
    David

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Wondeful and very balanced post.  Encouraging all who get to the bottom of these comments to go directly there !  Thanks, David

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Wondeful and very balanced post.  Encouraging all who get to the bottom of these comments to go directly there !  Thanks, David

  • Englishcoach007

    I
    like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides
    homework.

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Indeed ! …and often I would much rather give that than homework ;-)

  • Collolearn

    “Let’s build a base to support higher thought and hold on to all of the things that we’re taught.”

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    I like it! Original, no? Thanks for sharing, Jason!

  • Kristina Eisenhower

    I like the motto for EFL Classroom 2 — “When one teaches, two learn”.

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Simple and sweet!  Thanks for sharing, Kristina

  • http://vickyloras.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/monday-morning-inspiration-my-post-for-brad-pattersons-brad5patterson-blog-challenge/ Monday Morning Inspiration – My Post for Brad Patterson’s (@brad5patterson) Blog Challenge « Vicky Loras's Blog

    [...] located in France, and a person I am honoured to call a friend, posted a blog challenge on his blog A Journée in Language – Brad asked us to say which quote defines our teaching style. In the comments section, there [...]

  • http://twitter.com/jenmarten Jennifer Marten

    I love quotes, but this one has always been forefront in my mind as a teacher. My principal gave it to me my first year teaching.

    ” I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive
    element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my
    daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make
    life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of
    inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations,
    it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or
    de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat
    people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought
    to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”~ Haim Ginott

  • Holly / LEWWWP

    ~ by Paulo Coelho (from The Alchemist) = has inspired me as well as many English language learners I work with =

    “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
    [...so want to learn!]

    and
    [shared by SmartBrief = sbne.ws/r/dEy4]

    “Shaping a grand idea into a set of actions is a huge intellectual, emotional and creative challenge.”
    ~ Andrea Kay, Career Consultant
    [Strong educators do this every day!]

    Smiles and appreciations to all for the list of contributions so far,
    Holly (Dilatush)