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The Value of Teachers Who Listen

The Value of Teachers Who Listen
December 8, 2022 Eddie Renz
Apoorva Panidapu and Wendy Amato Talk STEM

The Power of Listening

Listening is a Teacher’s Most Powerful Tool – this is the title from an article on Edweek.org. The article goes on to say, “One of our most powerful strategies as teachers is to listen to our students, to learn who they are, and to find out what sparks their curiosity. When I started listening more intentionally to my 9th grade English students last fall, I learned that Anna prides herself on being funny. Jeffrey was disenchanted with the dystopian books he once loved. Julia shared a touching story about her dad, and Lily told me that she loves the young-adult novel Eleanor and Park as much as I do.

When I was growing up, I had a myriad of teachers. I went to home school, public school, and private school, and I only have two teachers that I really remember: Mrs. Gray, who taught Geometry, and Mr. Terrell, who taught 6th grade. Why do I remember them? Because they listened to me, they watched out for me, and they made me feel “seen”. That is the power of listening. There is a Zulu greeting, Sowubona, that I first heard while watching a Ted Talk, and it means, “I see you, and by seeing you I bring you into being.” What a beautiful thing to be truly seen. And it is such a simple gift that we can give to others.

In the clip below, we talked to Apoorva Panidapu about her favorite teachers and this is what she had to say…

See the Potential in Your Students

We asked Wendy Amato, the Chief Academic Officer from our partner organization, Learners Edge, to tell us more about the importance of STEM in the classroom, and this is what she had to say…

Apoorva hits the nail on the head when she notes that good teachers see the potential within students.  This mindset is particularly important in STEM and STEAM because these fields often require experimentation, learning from mistakes, and simply exploring without a predetermined destination.

For some students who are used to memorization, right/wrong questions, or bite-sized learning, it can be especially important to hear from a teacher that creative problem-solving, multiple paths to an outcome, and sustained thinking are all highly-valued qualities in learners. These are the learners who become leaders! These are the learners who take on the challenges that have the most significant outcomes.

Teachers who see the potential within students are more likely to nurture and nourish inquisitive minds, spontaneity, and out-of-the-box thinking.  They know that a good education is not about cranking students through a system that whittles everyone into the same end product; instead, they know that a good education is about creating the structure and support that enables a student’s unique potential to be fully realized. STEM and STEAM thrive at the intersection of knowledge, skill, and inspiration.

Thank you, Wendy, for chiming in on this important conversation. You highlight what many educators already know, that the students who are creative problem solvers become tomorrow’s leaders and that “there are multiple paths to an outcome.” How true. Our world is changing rapidly, and STEM and STEAM are increasingly important to foster new growth.

Here is an excerpt from SteamTruck.org that speaks exactly to Wendy Amato’s point.

Naveen Jain, founder of the World Innovation Institute, wrote a number of years ago when STEAM was just gaining momentum: The traditional system of “standardized, rote learning that teaches to a test is exactly the type of education our children don’t need in this world that is plagued by systemic, pervasive and confounding global challenges,” he said. “Today’s education system does not focus enough on teaching children to solve real-world problems and is not interdisciplinary, nor collaborative enough in its approach.”

It is exciting to see the push towards more STEAM/STEM education in the classroom, and we put together some activities for you to try with your students. Check out the activities, videos, we have put together for you.  And if you want to learn more about STEM, check out the great courses on STEM from Learners Edge in the links below.

STEM & STEAM Holiday Activities

Want to incorporate some engaging holiday STEM activities in your classroom? Download these fun activity cards.

STEM and STEAM Courses

Check out these courses from Learners Edge to learn more about STEM and STEAM in the classroom.

5221 – STEM is the Future for All Students

5795 – STEAM Education – Integrating the Arts into your Classroom 

3 Cool STEM Challenges

Believe in Your Students

Be Like Mr. Jensen

This final video above is just an inspirational story about how a teacher impacted a student’s life by believing in them. Give it a watch. You’ll be glad you did. 😃

Become a Teacher. Change Lives.

If you are passionate about impacting the world around you, there are few places where you can influence the future as much as a teacher. Teachers have the ability to build students up and set them on a positive course that can have a ripple effect for future generations.

If you are interested in becoming a teacher, check out our online teacher certification program, and you could be teaching in a matter of weeks.

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