Reading Response to Ned Noddings

In Nodding’s article, “Learning From Our Students,” he covered several topics such as learning your students’ difficulties, and preventing these difficulties from ruining their learning experiences. Towards the end of the article, the focus narrows down to the topic of competing for the highest GPA. In schools today, many students express their stress and anxiety about school and how unfortunate it is that teachers seem to allow this to happen. Why do we, as educators, not ensure that the value of education is made clear to our students? As Noddings says, “Learning can be a Joy.”

It can be critical to illustrate the full potential of subjects being taught and how these subjects will be relevant in our every day lives. That is not to say that teachers must somehow get their students to treat the Pythagorean Theorem as some sort of golden rule to be applied to everyday conversation, but to simply share the excitement of learning. To exercise fascination is to show students that there is much to learn and discover, and something this excitement is the motivation they need to become active in taking control over their own education. Teaching your students to find goals in their life and to set their own standards that are fair to them as an individual is a lifelong skill. The problem now, is that a “genuine interest in learning” has been twisted into a destructive concern for obtaining high grades. As a result, inspiration is lost, and students (and teachers) fall into a habit of “pseudo-learning,” where opportunities to truly learn are left behind in order to fulfill the requirements of the course. This should not be the purpose of education, nor should it be the standard we are preaching.

The mantra, “You can accomplish anything so long as you try hard enough,” does nothing to help the problem. It is fairly obvious that different students start on different playing grounds, and not everyone starts out with the same advantages or disadvantages. That is why it is our jobs as teachers to spread wonder, inspiration, and the fascination to learn, because this skill can benefit anyone’s life, and help students enrich their learning experience.

This was an excellent article to start off with, and I look forward to reflecting further as we continue on with the semester.

Thanks for your time,

Frances

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