Based on Teaching for Lifelong Learning: How to Prepare Students for a Changing World
One of the special joys in life is watching a child or grandchild play sports, like baseball, soccer, or football. It is especially interesting to watch progress over several years. For example, let’s take baseball. During their younger years, children often play because they become interested in baseball and its physical activity, but at this early stage they are novices when it comes to the fundamentals.
As they get older, they become more skillful and learn the strategies of the game, especially with a good coach. Good coaches keep them interested in the game, encourage their improvement efforts, and help them learn and understand the fundamental rules of the game. After some time, with practice and understanding, they can get really good at playing the game. They need less coaching and more individual practice on their own. They are no longer learning new skills but refining their skills. Finally, they may get so good that they themselves become coaches and teachers, sharing what they know, staying at peak performance, and demonstrating their skill by performing well in every game.
These four phases of learning baseball – call them novice, apprentice, self-directed, and expert – characterize how we might also think about planning for good teaching and learning. What if we thought about planning and teaching units of study as a way of creating student curiosity and interest in learning? As a way to raise the level of learning over time? As a way to build more complex understanding and skill development? As a way to lead students towards greater opportunities for self-directed learning and high levels of performance? Read more