Changing the teacher or changing the teaching?

I'm sure that the answer to the question posed in the title is a false dichotomy, because you can't really do one without the other. It does make for an interesting discussion starter though!

I was confronted with this questions while doing some SMARTBoard tutoring this week. We were walking through the hows of using the SMARTBoard when it became apparent that my colleague's teaching wasn't going to change. The addition of a new tool was the only thing that was going to be new. Was the fact that students could now underline words during direct instruction make them more engaged learners?

So at what point do you stop the learning with your peers and really have the discussion about adopting a new teaching pedagogy. I know I don't have to be the smartest person in the classroom when it comes to content, but I had better be the smartest person in the room when it comes to leading, facilitating, and mentoring colleague and student learners. This forces me to be the pedagogy expert, not the knowledge expert and it is this "expertise" that makes us teachers...and that is new for some people, including ME! It's like learning how to teach all over again. It's times like this where I wish I wouldn't have had Ed. Psych. my freshman year!

This idea of change, as it relates to the practice of teaching, is going to have to be a common thread in all of the professional development I take part in, either as a leader or learner.

I have the opportunity to provide some in-service for a very small Lutheran school for a half-day the last Monday in July. They are getting a laptop cart and want to know if I can work with their staff and teach them "what to do with the computers." Not sure how much I can get done in 3 hours? They want me to teach them tools, but I wonder if the time should be spent working through teaching strategies? There is not enough time to do both?

The one thing I can NOT do, is teach them the same old way. Maybe modeling effective strategies will be enough? Can I differentiate enough to make the three hours worth while or will the old "spray and pray" strategy have to do for this one time meeting? Who knows how many of their minds will even be open to a new teaching paradigm with new tools?

Along these lines, I ran across an article from Educause entitled: "The Three-E Strategy for Overcoming Resistance to Technological Change." It does an awesome job of addressing the introduction of new technologies to the 92% of technology users who really need to be convinced!

Well, I don't really know where I'm going with this blog, but to say that I'm learning that being a teacher is getting harder and not easier. The rules and tools have changed so much that you can't just sit idle anymore and not be part of the change.

These are interesting times to be a teacher!