The Kernel of Teaching: Human Connection

The Kernel of Teaching: Human Connection

By: Mohammad Khari

"Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and love of bringing the first two loves together."
Scott Hayden

Let us take a moment and think about why we are doing what we are doing: teaching. Like many other professions, some do it for the money, some for the job security, some for the title, and some for the love of it. There is something to being a teacher that separates it from other professions, albeit teachers also like financial stability, recognition, and respect. We do it because we are extremely optimistic. Despite being aware of the challenges, demands, and the occasional turmoil of the profession, we yearn for those split seconds when a student blesses us with their curiosity. It is this marvelous aspect of teaching that makes it unique. “We are educators; we are born to make a difference” (Pierson, 2013).

In this issue’s main video, Rita Pierson passionately points out the significance of human connection in education. She elaborates why, as a teacher, you need to seek first to understand rather than to be understood and why apologizing when you realize you have made a mistake can lead to a stronger bond between you and your students. She shares with us a number of heart-warming stories of episodes from her career in which she attempted to make her students feel the firm belief she had in their potential, even when they themselves failed to see it. Pierson likens educators to champions, as adults who will never give up on children, who understand the power of connection, and insist that children become the best that they can possibly be. Being an educator is arduous, yet possible, and those educators who do it well are the ones who are remembered years later.

Nick Fuhrman (Ranger Nick) explains how a forty-five-minute lesson from Ranger Bill changed his life, in our lite video. His wonderful story is a showcase of the powerful impacts educators can have on students. He then goes on to break down the one thing all great teachers do into four fundamental points. He believes that sterling teachers are the ones who Celebrate mistakes (or “teachable moments” as he calls them), Appreciate differences, Relay feedback, and Evaluate themselves: they simply CARE.

Students learn better when they feel connected, and great teachers acknowledge this fact, fully aware of the mighty impact they can have, impact with the potential of lasting for a lifetime. Inspiring educators embrace their students’ mistakes and encourage them to make better ones, appreciate the students’ differences and diversity, and do not hesitate to give them a pat on the back, as they see their students’ success as a reflection of how well they teach. We, teachers, aspire to make this connection on a daily basis and the great ones do it so often that it lends sprezzatura!

Join us in this issue’s journey, which is packed with awe-inspiring experiences shared by educators. Touching upon teacher-student relationships, attachment-based teaching, a growth mindset, and deep-grounded learning, this issue brings the idea of relationship in education to the limelight.

Mohammad Khari is an English lecturer at Ozyegin University, Istanbul. He holds a BA in English Literature, an MA in Philosophy of Art, and a CELTA. Mohammad has been reading and researching on the integration of neuroscience into pedagogy, sharing his ideas through a series of professional development sessions.

One comment

  1. Very nicely written focusing on the real key elements of positive learning experience for both sides ( facilitators and learners).

    Born into a generation of parents and teachers expecting impeccability, I believe many of us, who became teachers as kids of those parents and students of those teachers, are more inclined to celebrate and accept mistakes of our students as well ours as adults today.

    The teachers can be a model to their students also in making mistakes showing them ‘errare humanum est’ ( Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 4 BC to 45 AD.) and what matters is just to accept and learn from it, which is the best way to reinforce learning and celebrate authentic connection.

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