When it comes to teaching, there is a difference between an “expert” and a “lead learner.” Can you tell what it is?
In my journey through (public) school there are many things I have learned. One thing I cannot escape: I will never stop learning.
This is actually quite easy to assent to intellectually. I’ll buy that any day. The problem is not so much that I never stop learning, though the world purports the experts have arrived. How I learn is what matters.
It’s really amazing how education reveals character. For instance: I tend to look for the way requiring the least effort = lazy. (No, I’m not talking about efficiency – I’ve used that excuse before.) Character matters in education. Who you are as a person affects those you are leading.
I’ve thought a lot about issues surrounding discipleship, but am only starting to see the inherent connection to education. There are many models of each, but this is the very dichotomy I want to re-infuse. They are not separate.
Discipleship is education. Therefore, education is discipleship.
Our culture has made education solely an academic exercise, but it is so much more than this. As dads, we kinda feel like we’re supposed to know everything, right? Or is it just me? When my son asks me about something I don’t know (like motors), I want to make up something to sound like I know what I’m talking about. I mean, what if he finds out that I don’t know everything??
That’s foolishness. He already knows.
I am about to tutor a class called Challenge A as a part of our home school community. I’ve started thinking about becoming a lead learner even more because of the theme that is part of this class for all Classical Conversations communities: “Personal Investment breeds Ownership.”
This makes sense for a group of junior high age students. They need to learn to start owning their own education. Again, this is fairly easy to accept as an avenue for them. It’s a good theme…for them.
What if it’s a good theme for me?
If I personally invest the time and energy to learn what these kids are learning, I am becoming a “lead learner.” In other words, if I admit that I stink at geography and admit it with a humble attitude, they will respond. But as their tutor, I can’t just admit it and then say, “tough luck!”
I have three wonderful children that need to see what whole-person learning looks like as well. My wife homeschools our children and has learned very quickly that she needs to be a “lead learner.” Though her humility would keep her from considering herself as someone who does this really well (’cause that’s what I think), I can’t help but see what a great model she is.
I need to be a model of how to wrestle, how to ask good questions, how to be observant, how to follow directions (for crying out loud), how to trust.
Aren’t these the same questions as a disciple of Christ?
I can rest in His abundance and learn. Show dependence on Him and you will be teaching far more than you know. You are not an expert, so don’t pretend like you are. Becoming a lead learner is a worthy personal investment.