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Rethinking education: common misconceptions about learning

Our new blog series, ‘rethinking education’, explores common misconceptions about learning and new ways that international teachers can imagine their classrooms while teaching overseas in order to make the most enriching educational experience for students.

Many assumptions that teachers make about their students and the way that they learn have no real merit. Read below as we explore these myths and debunk some of them for our readers.

Students don’t care about learning

One of the biggest misconceptions that needs to be addressed is that all students are uninterested in learning or that they just don’t care. When students appear to not care about their education, there is usually something else at work: perhaps last year, they had a gruelling experience with a teacher, lost a family member, or failed a test that was particularly important to them.

Other than what’s happening in the classroom, some teachers argue that their students don’t seem interested in anything that’s happening in the world as a whole. If you’re faced with a few students who don’t seem to care about or engage in current events, it could be as simple as adjusting how you bring current events into the classroom in order to interest your students. As one of the most globally active generations yet, engaging children in issues of importance often just means finding the best way to share this information with them. Ask them to each present on an issue of importance to them to see what matters in their world, and connect with them on these issues.

All students nowadays are tech-smart

Because computers, the internet, and often times tablets or smart devices are so readily available to students now, some teachers may assume that all their students are well-versed when it comes to technology. This shouldn’t be assumed. Just because the technology is there doesn’t mean that they’ve taken the time to interact with it or understand how it works properly.

Take the proper amount of time to teach your students how to use the technology in your classroom instead of assuming that they will know how to work with it. Better safe than sorry!

A quiet classroom means that everyone is listening

Just because the classroom is quiet doesn’t mean that you have every student’s attention. In fact, a quiet classroom could mean less engagement than a noisier one. If you find students are just sitting quietly, they could be zoned out of the lesson plan.

The best way to check for engagement and interest is to ask your students to speak up. Whether you split them up into smaller groups to encourage the participation of quieter students, or you strive for full-class participation, provide regular opportunities for your students to speak up and engage and encourage a chattier environment.

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