Experiential Writing: Teaching & Learning in Chile (Best Sellers)

Experiential Writing

I am best described as an experiential teacher. Indeed, I was born to be a teacher, and have come to recognize this as the “gift”, or talent, that I was born with.

As a writer, I am also an experiential writer, foremost, and a theoretical writer, secondarily, in so much that it responds to genre, the expectations established by conventions most people accept.

Therefore, I determined quite naturally that it would be reality, or actual experience, rather than theory, that would have the primary role of reflecting what I have come to adopt as a philosophy of teaching. I believe teachers are born with the gift of understanding what they have to do in order to help someone learn something. It can be taught, but desire must be paired with effort.

This became clear to me the other day, when I watched a teacher of English give an explanation of inflectional and derivational suffixes, taught to a class of young students. The teaching was exceptional, flawless. Yet when asked by a clever student when that information would be needed, there was no adequate response to the question.

I recall, during my days in the military, a similar class, on digital technology, on the electronic function of a “counter”. A series of high and low binary impulses (explained the teacher), goes through the counter, and the result is digitally represented by the number of impulses it has “counted”. In this way, we could understand exactly the condition of the counter at any given moment, and thus relate it to the number that was displayed digitally.

Of course, the class was thoroughly confused, no matter how much we tried to replicate the passage of the high and low impulses through the counter. Finally, I said: “Counters count. So rather than following the impulses, why not translate the displayed digital number into its binary equivalent?”

Suddenly, everyone was an expert on counters. We got it, we understood it…

Teaching is like that story on counters. Despite excellent teaching, no one had learned anything. Yet when broken down to its practical function, counting, everyone grasped it, everyone learned.

Teaching is not what teachers are supposed to do, teachers are supposed to help students learn. If students don’t learn, teaching has not occurred.

Teaching without student learning occurring is like a successful operation, yet the patient died…

Any definition of successful teaching practice should express the outcome or impact on learning…

For me, when learning occurs, teaching has occurred, including those instances when teachers do nothing (apparently) but get out of the way of the students to let them figure things out for themselves…

Finally, I hope you enjoy my books about my experience of teaching English as a Foreign Language, about being a teacher leader, and being a teacher in the Chilean Education system. I absolutely believe, that despite Chile’s imperfect education condition, it is potentially among the best in the world. That conclusion, at least, is what my experience tells me, that teachers teach in Chile, and students learn…

Amazon Author Page: Thomas Jerome Baker

Amazon Best Sellers

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About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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