Tucked away on an online course discussion board, I read a beautiful personal philosophy of education by Lesley Machon in which she wrote:

Through inspiring recollection and the ability to discern between various sentiments, my teaching philosophy affirms the dignity of my students. By seeking the truth with them, I will guide them meaningfully in their own lifelong quest for truth.

I loved her entire philosophy statement, but these two sentences have had me re-thinking my definition of teaching. Interpreting “teaching” as the process of helping students find truth is so powerful.

In my definition, I talked about employing skill sets and processes of sharing knowledge, facilitating discovery, and fostering learning. Lame.

“Finding truth” covers “sharing knowing”, “facilitating discovery”, and “fostering learning.” Finding truth indicates that students are going to employ a system of thinking and research processes to discover what it is that they will need to be successful. Finding truth means that my students, whom I implore to follow their passions, will know what their passions are. They will know what is most true to them, and the activities in which they will be most true to themselves. I can’t shake Lesley’s definition of teaching. It’s so simple. So pure. And within this simplicity, there’s a depth that can’t be ignored.

Finding truth means that the student has a purpose in learning. Without taking the low-hanging fruit of Donald Trump, Alternative Facts, and Fake News – finding truth is so important these days. Students are asked to think critically, to solve problems, to self-direct their activities, to become life-long learners, and to both access and analyze information.

See the Pembina Trails 21st Century Learning statement below:

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Helping students find truth. Do we need more than that to define “teaching”? Let me know your thoughts – either below or on twitter @SPGiesbrecht.