Saturday, 28 September 2013

What does an ideal teaching moment look like?

I read an article by James Derounian in the Guardian on what his "idea of a (utopian) university" looked like recently.

In reading that article, I started thinking about what my ideal teaching moment looked like (of course, then I started thinking about what my ideal learning moment looked like, but I will postpone that thinking for a future post). For this time, I will think about what I need to see in my learners to know that my teaching has done what it should. That fabulous "Aha!" moment.

I want to see that learners have taken the course materials and explored beyond them. I want to see curiousity, exploration, risk, testing of new ideas, uncertainty, experimentation, over-turning of old ideas that don't make the grade and seeding of new ideas that will work for now. I want to see theories applied to known situations and used to test potential situations. I want to see independence of thought. I want learners to give me a map back to where they have got their new ideas from and honour those whose ideas are worthy of repitition. I want them to be passionate in their thirst for new learning. I want them to make learning a fire that burns within them, a Tonto that will ride shotgun with them on their knowledge quest for the rest of their lives.

I want their eyes to light up when they are challenged with something new, and understand that they can work through this new thing. To have the confidence and the grounding to know that, like Creighton Abrams said, this is just like eating an elephant... a bite at a time.

I want their learning behaviours to be really active, where, if I asked them what they were doing and how engaged they were with their material, they would say that they wrote their own study questions and answers; that they compared and contrasted; that they closed their notes and tested how much they remembered; that they asked themselves “How does this impact my life?”

Quite a big ask really, now I come to think of it!
  • Reference: Derounian, James (20 September 2013). The idea of a (utopian) university. Retrieved 26 September 2013 from


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