I have grown up with the notion that teaching is for the teachers, and learning is for the students. Inside the classroom, you have to do your task as a student – learn as much as you can from your teacher. In fact, ten years ago, I remember how our class system was designed to facilitate such roles. A student comes to class, sit down, listen all day from the lectures and write everything that was placed on the board. The teacher shall place the lessons and checks your notebook if you have written the things presented in class. And this cycle shall be repeated for the rest of the year.
However, what differentiates a very active class from a slow paced class? There are some factors one can consider actually, but the simplest thing we can point out would be how to engage the class. One can quickly conclude that if the teacher knows how to engage the class, then the discussion will be good. And we come up with a conclusion that makes the visuals more colorful or give pop culture related examples. But have we really diagnosed the problem with the slow-paced class? That was precisely the question I asked whenever I find myself sleepy with a subject I actually like.
Doing the most common scientific inquiry that Science majors practice during experiments with the hope of finding the scientific reality, I started formulating questions and hypothesis to diagnose the problem. I began defining what slow-paced class is, then the students and teachers. Before I can even go to the hypothesis, I am already stuck with the definition of students and teachers. I tried defining (definite), two stakeholders inside the classroom in terms of their function and responsibilities.
The diagnosing and hypothesis formulation thus becomes a question of what should be the roles of the system, in the same logic as for how a doctor would do if you are feeling pain: ask what is wrong, make necessary testing then prescribe medicines or solutions.
However, it is important to note here that the audience and subject matter should be considered in teaching style. One cannot simply focus on making colorful visuals if you are supposed to teach Mathematics to Engineering students. To put it simply in this paper, I am assuming the undergraduate students of Science majors. And here, I began putting into context what is expected of students and teachers: discussion.
The word discussion comes from the Late Latin word discussiōn- which means a shaking. Shaking off an idea, or generally accepted fact, for a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of lessons and modules. It stems out from the justice trial system, where the accused is put on trial and different points are presented and dissected. In the Science classroom context, we can assume the accused individual or case is the lesson, and students and teachers are part of the body that will dissect things out. But here, I would like to argue in favor a framework which I personally believe – that students are both lawyers and judges, like teachers.
Ideas are presented from books and other resources. Intended instructional materials are given to the class by teachers.
However, as a student, do we accept them all? If we look at lessons and modules as cases in the court and assume that we are lawyers, it will spell the difference between an active and passive class. And in this context, we need to shake the existing ideas, and I call this meta-challenge or challenging the challenge. To challenge things and challenge the challenge that they impose on us in order to liberate us from ignorance. And if we ever go back to what school originally means, from the Greek word skholē which means leisure. A leisure did to free oneself from the normal cyclical things we do for survival.
But students are not just lawyers that are expected to dissect the lessons presented to them. They are above all, like teachers, judges who criticize if reasons are enough to lead to a conclusion and acceptance. And they are not alone in this role, teachers are with them, always with them.
The process of paghihimay ng mga detalye and analyzing are always done by the teachers first. Then they present it to students so that they may learn to process and do it themselves. Then they do it all together. It is a two-way thing: students learn from teachers, and teachers learn from students.
Now if I go back to the notion whether students are learners and teachers are educators, perhaps not necessarily. Whether we like it or not, we are doing both learning and educating. We learn as we teach, and teach as we learn.