How Should Educators Teach?
December 20, 2017
Each week, American College of Education shares #WednesdayWisdom from the sages on our staff, faculty, student, and alumni rolls. This week’s wisdom comes courtesy of Dr. Devan Bissonette, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Professional Educational Studies.
There are a lot of things you can learn in the classroom, but, as Dr. Devan Bissonette likes to joke, being a teacher isn’t one of them.
Sitting down with ACE, the adjunct faculty member reflects on his early struggles navigating the classroom and finding his own lane as an educator. “God forbid they teach you how to teach,” he says with a chuckle.
But then again, maybe that’s the point: To carve out your own path instead of following the one tread before you. “It takes a while to get comfortable with who you are…to not think, ‘Oh, I was taught this way, so I must teach this way,’” he says. “Like, no, that was then, this is now [and] the old lecture style isn’t terribly effective.”
As a result, Devan isn’t interested in inculcating the students he instructs at ACE, most of whom are already working educators themselves. His approach? Give them information and structure to share their ideas, and watch their teaching perspectives take shape.
“To me, that’s the biggest thing,” he says. “It’s all about discussion in the end. The discussion is where I can push students to look at things differently, understand students as people, and have honest discussions about [the coursework] and what we can do with it, and how it often applies to their teaching.”
Bottom line? “It’s [about] being flexible,” Devan says of his teaching style. “You’ve got to be responsive to your audience.”