"Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."

Oscar wilde (1854-1900)

I don’t agree whole-heartedly with this statement, but it does shed some light on me, and what I’ve learned while studying educational technology. I don't think Oscar Wilde wasn’t being cynical towards teachers. He was talking to learners, impressing upon them the fact that meaningful knowledge and wisdom comes from experience.

This is my fifth year teaching algebra to eighth graders. On my first day teaching I entered a classroom with a textbook and some markers for the overhead projector. I had been hired in January to replace a teacher that hadn't shown up to teach since September. It wasn't the best of situations, but I made it work, and by the end of the year my students were well-behaved and had even learned some math. It's hard to believe that was only four years ago. I've since learned that there are better ways to educate a person than the hasty, stop-gap measures I implemented that first half of a year. I started off sitting at the overhead projector and lecturing to my students. Now I use a digital presentation station and my students work in collaborative groups.

I have taken Oscar Wilde's message to heart while planning lessons for my students and leading trainings for adults. As an instructional designer, I’ve learned that it’s my job to set up a challenging learning environment, motivate my students, and provide the tools necessary for success. I’ve grown to see myself not as the ‘sage on the stage’ as they say, but rather the ‘guide on the side.’ I provide the boundaries of the learning experience and my students learn by taking part in it. (continued...)