(This is Part Two in a two-part series about the expectations of learning relationships. Please check our previous post in Part One: "5 Things Students Expect From Their Teachers.")
More and more in recent years, we've started referring to the kids in our classes as "learners" rather than "students." It began unintentionally but became more and more frequent. We gradually realized that the relationship between learner and educator is not always the same as between student and teacher. As we explored earlier in the "5 Things Students Expect From Their Teachers," we are shaping our goals for new school year, and we're trying to consider an even more nuanced connection between any learner and his or her guide.
A learner is someone who seeks knowledge, who solicits professional development, who values links from a Twitter PLN, or who watches YouTube videos to hone a skill. Employees and entrepreneurs, welders and poets all further themselves by seeking insights from a trusted specialist. Any interaction that results in greater understanding or proficiency forges a learner/educator bond.
The word "learner" suggests an open-mindedness and a self-initiation. The word "student," however, implies a hierarchy. It defines a status, where one is the instructor and the other is the pupil. This difference is akin to actively enrolling in a class versus being at the mercy of a class. It is the difference between training and tutelage, between aficionado and authority.
We’ve all experienced the letdown of learning, whether at disappointing conferences or half-hearted meetings. As both educators and life-long learners, therefore, we want to make every effort to cultivate scholarship by aligning realistic expectations.
What do learners expect from their educators?