“You can bring a donkey to the water but you can’t let him drink.” This is a Jamaican proverb that I remember hearing my grandmother say over the years. I asked her what she meant and she said, “I can give you all the tools for success, but if don’t want to be successful then it’s on you.” According to Adler and Van Doren, “A teacher may help his student in many ways; it is the student himself who must do the learning” (Kransy and Sokolik, 2010 p.8). “To teach is to impart knowledge of or skill; give instruction” (Dictionary.com) and “to learn is to acquire knowledge of or skill in by study or instruction” (Dictionary.com). I do believe that a teacher can help students but the students have to try and attain or learn the knowledge that the teacher is trying to impart on them.
My role as a student or as a learner is to learn and apply the concept that is being taught. I attend class with a receptive and vigorous openness to learn whatever is being taught to me. I am responsible for asking all the necessary questions until whatever is being taught can be clear in my mind. I also believe that learning does not end with the teacher in the classroom. When taking online classes I have the instructor available in the live chats and I can apply the knowledge taught for the course in that live chat session. However, after the live chats, I have to refer to the books, the syllabus and all the other tools that were given to me. As a student, I have to take the initiative to learn beyond what was taught and discover some things on my own. According to Adler and Van Doren, “discovery is the process of learning something by research, by investigation, or by reflection without being taught” (Kransy and Sokolik, 2010 p.8).
A teacher plays a very important role in learning. Before I became a Physical Therapist Assistant, I went to school with the knowledge of what it would take for me to achieve that goal. I also knew what path I needed to take. However, without the instructors teaching, I would not know the depth of knowledge I needed to learn to become licensed. The instructors taught the skills that were needed to acquire the knowledge. Teachers play a very vital role in the learning process. They have to be good communicators and attentive to their students’ needs and barriers; and according to Adler and Van Doren, “teaching is a very special art” (Kransy and Sokolik, 2010, p.8). As a therapist I have to instruct my patients that have hip precautions the proper techniques of transfers. If I do not correctly instruct my patients in way that they understand they surely will not adhere to the proper precautions. However if I did a good job at delivering the information it is the patient’s duty to adhere to them so that they can strive to get better without complications.
In Jamaica you were told in school that there were basic things that you must know. You were given a deadline to know certain information; however, if you did not take the necessary steps to learn what was being taught, then you would get beaten with a leather belt. I can remember this practice being called “Dr. must study”. It was a fear of students to get punished with the belts, and this fear would push the students to learn what was being taught. In the US, you seemingly have to be at a grade level. You go through rigorous testing and teaching to get there, it is up you the student to want to attain the knowledge. Some people will learn by force, by will or by wanting to get to an enhanced level in life.
It is up to teachers to teach and instruct their students, but it is up to the student to learn what is being taught. You can get into a routine of going to class and listening to what the teacher says, but at the end of the day, it is the student’s responsibility to aspire to learn and take the knowledge and make it positively affect your life.
Krasny, M. , Sokolik,M., (2010). Sound ideas. (1st ed., Vol. 1, p. 8). New York: MaGraw Hill.
Courtney from Study Moose
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