I think an important part in distinguishing learning from teaching is the focus on understanding. In looking solely at teaching, there are no questions that ask if the students are getting it. However, learning demands that there is open communication between student and teacher. This is the opportunity for the teacher to constantly be checking in with the students, and being aware of the different rates of progress in their learning. All students learn in different ways and at different speeds. With this in mind, the focus in education should first and foremost be on the student’s learning, so that teaching is then constructed around learning.
I see that teaching can easily occur without learning becoming the outcome. Learning engages students in classroom activities that have been specifically designed with those students in mind. This type of teacher is continuously assessing student learning while adapting lesson plans to fit the student’s needs. In the video that we watched today, I saw the students actively learning and not simply being “taught”. The learning was distinguished by the students showing understanding of the subject matter and being able to apply it on their own. Phillip implemented the concept of scaffolding well by giving them questions that caused them to think critically about the subject. He actively involved the students by arranging the classroom in a way that would support the depth of discussion that he was hoping for. Throughout the discussion process, Phillip was there the entire time helping students along the way. To move the students along in the right direction he said, “I want to have you talking to each other. I want to hear noise.” Phillip was giving students step-by-step instructions, but enough space to move around in their own thinking. He also gave students consistent encouragement and feedback. He would regulate the discussion and recognize student achievement throughout this process. These students were learning because Phillip was not only teaching, he was leading.