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In a message dated 3/16/2005 8:42:00 PM Mountain Standard Time,
kerrin@... writes:

We were talking about teaching as part of unschooling. Some people seemed to
think that there couldn't be any teaching if you were unschooling. I was
trying to point out that teaching is ok if the child has asked for it.

But was it "teaching" if the child didn't learn?

-=-My shoelace story was an example of how teaching and learning are not the
same thing, and that learning does not necessarily follow teaching. It
wasn't worth anything. Except maybe the value of my child knowing that if
she asks me to help her with something, I will try.-=-

Right. Sorry. I was trying to say the same thing. <g>

For those who are even more confused than I was, the issue is attachment to
the word/idea/concept of "teaching." It can help to dump that from your
thoughts and say instead (and think instead) that you helped her learn to tie
her shoes. You showed her how you tie yours. You maybe passed on ideas or
tricks that helped you.

All the learning happens inside the learner. Teaching (especially teaching
that resulted in no learning) isn't as helpful to unschooling as is helping a
person learn. They're not always the same thing. And when they ARE the
same thing, it's more helpful to think of it as "helping someone learn."

-=-So are you saying that learning does always follow teaching? I'm sure you
said the opposite in an earlier post. I'm a bit confused! anyway, I'm

If I said it, what I meant was that if nobody learned, why would we say we
But in schools the definition of "teach" comes down to "showed up, did
stuff, kept kids in room, gave them a test" because they have to have a
justification for pay checks and benefits. And there ARE measures that are designed
to prove that teachers taught. Unfortunately, they're based on grades and
tests scores, neither of which shows much long-term evidence of real learning.
And luckily for teachers, they often just show that he kids got a year older
and can do better on same-old-tests because they're more mature and are
probably learning enough outside of school (and some inside) to get a higher score
than the year before, so the teacher's paycheck is justified.

Occasionally I teach a one-hour kind of thing. I "taught a class" on
medieval and Renaissance music a couple of years back. I ran it toward getting a
joke, and at the end I played a fake gregorian chant that was actually Queen's
"We will Rock You" done in such a way that you'd get twelve words in before
realizing it wasn't REALLY a gregorian chant. Anyone who "got that joke"
felt he'd learned something in that class. Some people probably caught a thing
or two they still remember. Some were just there because there wasn't another
workshop they wanted to attend in that hour, or they liked me, or they liked
music. I was paid with a free lunch and a nice 'thank you.' If no one
learned, at least I did my presentation. But could I say I "taught" if truly
not a person learned a thing? Depends on what I think teaching is, I guess.
Luckily, I showed them pictures and played them music, and told them
stories, so probably various of them remember totally different bits and parts.

-=-the 1st definition of teach in my dictionary is: To help to learn,
tell or show-=-

That's a good definition!

-=-If only they really did sing and dance! That would be a huge

I used to sing, when I taught Jr. High. Fridays, a traditional ballad each
week. I called it poetry and literature, on the lesson plans. I told the
kids "on Fridays we'll just do a ballad." When I see any of them now, they
talk about that. A friend of mine found she's working with one of my former
students at Sandia Labs; they're engineers. So I exchanged a couple of e-mails
with this long-ago student, whose name's Inez. It was very cool. She
mentioned the ballads, and said I taught her calligraphy, after hours, and she
still does it (it was probably one session and a follow-up when she had
questions). I got to tell her that the person who first taught me calligraphy (one
lesson, but I still say "taught" because it took! I just needed to know how
to operate the pen and ink and to see someone do it who could give me
pointers) was... Rodema, the very woman she's working with at Sandia. They hadn't
known of that calligraphy connection. And I told her if I had given her a
"handout," it was probably done by Rodema.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Kerrin or Ralph

> For those who are even more confused than I was, the issue is attachment
> the word/idea/concept of "teaching." It can help to dump that from your
> thoughts

I get it! Truly I do :-)