What Kind of Teacher Do You Have?

This article by Seth Godin really spoke to me today.  Go ahead and read it before you hear what I have to say, it’ll make more sense to you then.  So why am I posting a link to a non-nursing article here on my blog…?

Seth’s point is that there are too many teachers that teach superficially, and I think this is especially true in nursing school.  They teach you the “what'”s and the “when’s,” but not the most important “why’s.”  Don’t believe me?  Then ask yourself:  how many of your nursing instructors teach straight from the power point slides?  Techniques, facts, and procedures only:  Type 1 teaching.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m not trying to slam nurse educators.  Most of the nurse educators I’ve met feel strongly about what they do.  But their hands are tied.  Either by school policy, lack of time, lack of money, or even lack of training on how to design a higher level class.  They care about what they do, but that’s not enough to make sure their students understand enough to pass exit exams or NCLEX.

I strive to be a Type 2 teacher.  It means more work for me, because I can’t just use the pre-made presentations that come with a textbook.  I have to develop our own lesson plans, create active learning activities, learn new technologies, and take more risks.  It’s a little bit scary to get in front of a group of students and try something new.  Sometimes those risks turn out to be failures, like when I share a really cool new explanation, only to get a bunch of blank stares from students.  But more often those risks  pay off big time when I get to see the light bulb go on for a student.

When a nursing student finally understands the “why” behind the facts they were told to memorize, then they can start applying the “why” to other interesting questions, too.  And studying nursing suddenly becomes a lot more fun to do.

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