Learning and teaching are not two separate and distinct processes. Some ability to learn exists in all of us. Some learning skills we need to develop with practice. So while there are clear responsibilities for teachers to teach, there is also a need for learners to actively learn, and to manage their own learning. Here are three conversations about whose responsibility the ‘learning’ is. Have a listen to what these students think. Do you agree?
(Video transcripts can be downloaded here as PDF)
This ‘students as partners in learning’ thing annoys me….
Where does the responsibility for your learning lie? It is certainly true that students come to University to learn, but they are not empty vessels waiting to be filled up with facts. Learning requires that skills are developed, knowledge acquired and that and individual can apply that knowledge in different contexts. Learning is a shared responsibility.
I’m just not good at numbers …
The teacher will take time to learn about your strengths and weaknesses. It is your responsibility as a learner to ensure the teacher can support you. In this example Paul has a problem reacting quickly to graphs and charts in class and is beginning to feel he just can’t handle numbers. But, as Joey points out, the teacher may be happy to share that data in advance of the class if it helps Paul learn. He has to tell the teacher what would help him.
My teacher asks me to speak in class but I’m shy.
Not everybody is confident to speak in class. Some people are shy. Some people come from cultural backgrounds where social etiquette dictates a certain order or structure to who may ask and answer questions. It can take time to get used to the British classroom. You can help the teachers to structure their questions so that you can participate. Tell them how best you would like to contribute.