The Art of Listening… to teachers

We learn to listen to teachers from a very young age. Perhaps, once we ‘leave’ school we decide we don’t have to listen to teachers anymore. Yet, there’s no doubt that we all learn from truly listening to others. Most teachers will even talk about how much they learn from students. Listening is truly an art and it helps us learn. So… doesn’t it make sense that we listen to teachers when it comes to learning what makes sense in the classroom and educational technology best practices?

Who knows better than those who are actually ‘on the ground’, every day, in the classroom?

Bill Gates (and the Gates Foundation) has finally figured that out!

You may love Bill Gates… you may hate him. I don’t always agree with where the Gates Foundation puts its money but I have never doubted the Gates’ philanthropy and I believe Bill Gates’ heart is in the right place.

In a recent article in the Education Week blog on Digital Education, Gates discusses how he hopes Graphite (from Common Sense Media… check these out if you’ve never seen them before!) will help teachers voices be heard by software developers and other educators.

It’s truly encouraging to hear/read Bill Gates talk about how “teachers are the lifeblood of the education system” and’ that “something magical” happens with effective face-to-face classroom teaching’. He and his foundation have come under some criticism (right or wrong) for focusing on using strict teacher evaluations to improve teaching. However, Gates deserves credit for acknowledging how essential teachers are and how they must be supported so they can continue to have a positive impact on learning.

Perhaps, legislators who like to micro-manage the world of education could take a lesson from Gates and practice the Art of Listening to Teachers!

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