Galileo – You cannot teach a person anything…



Fellow teachers, we often lose sight of our own limitations.  As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink… The same is true for our students.  Young or old. Learned or unlearned.  We can offer multiple opportunities and strategies but the ultimate act of embracing new knowledge and taking ownership as of their learning is a personal endeavor – that each of our students must choose to make.

Before we throw up our hands in defeat, let’s pause for a moment and see the opportunity before us.  As teachers we can find success if we slightly shift our focus and remember to guide our students to acknowledge “how to learn” and “how to study.”  If true learning requires our students to embrace it on a personal level, then we must guide them and show them how!

Recently I was helping my middle son prepare for an upcoming spelling test. I had a eureka moment.  I asked him to tell me what it means to study.  How does he do it?  He stammered around and couldn’t really explain what that meant.  Lightbulb flashing to me.  How can I expect him to learn his spelling words if he really doesn’t understand what that means?  So, we spent a few minutes talking and sharing why we study and how we can study.  Now he has a clearer idea of what the big goal is!  We want to practice each of our spelling words enough for the correct spelling to be cemented in our mind and we can accurately spell it correctly anytime we need to use the word – for our spelling test but also anytime in our daily lives.

This suggested to me that perhaps I should engage my own students in acknowledging and assessing what they think studying involves.  A step further leads me to see a need to guide my students in my classroom to identify how to be an active learner and how to work together as a learning team completing group work.

So, what does the word “study” mean to you?

Cult of Pedagogy digs deeper into “how” we can guide our students to learn within themselves.

4 thoughts on “Galileo – You cannot teach a person anything…

  1. Very compelling post! I really liked the emphasis that is being placed on students knowing the “purpose” of what they are doing. As a high school math teacher, I find myself struggling some days to provide or remind them of that purpose. The concept of asking a student about what studying is is brilliant because it reveals their character and readiness to learn. Once that gets addressed, they can begin to make progress.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the support! I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the “teaching” that we forget that it’s really about providing our students with the strategies and opportunities to learn. This is a daily challenge.


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