Helping Them Make the Transitions

As I finish up getting everything set for my classes, I’m reflecting on the importantce of influencing the undergraduate pre-service teachers in my Secondary Issues class. This will be the 4th time I’ve taught the course since 2002 and the first time I feel a strong need to help my students make the needed transitions.

First, they need to transition from being students to being teachers. I’ve thought about this before and implemented some strategies, but this semester I will work even harder to get the point across. For instance, I’ve removed any reference in the syllabus to them being students – I refer to them as pre-service teachers. Second, we will refer to one another by our last names. That little bit of formality can help set the stage for increased levels of impending responsibility.

Second, they need to transition from 20th Century learners to 21st Century learners. This is always a hard sell – they are used to their teachers and professors lecturing, testing, and giving grades. As many have stated, this form of education was fine for the industrial age.


An early 20th Century college classroom that doesn’t look much different from the ones I teach in.

But now we need to focus on learning how to learn. Have they been so indoctrinated that they can’t teach themselves … I don’t think so, but I do think that some don’t see the issue – it’s my job to point it out.

Many of them don’t like the fact that I won’t take responsibility for their learning. They see it as me making them do all the work. They don’t see the hours that I have spent designing this course (and all the technology tools) and fine-tuning what they are presented with. They’ll know soon enough.


An early 20th Century elementary school classroom – notice that the students’ hands are all behind their backs … uniformity and class management?

I’m expecting the best from them – I trust that they will learn what teaching is all about and will embrace the opportunity to continue learning.


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