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Do-Nothing Teaching

Learn through experience.  Learn by doing.  Doing teacher research.  Just do it.  What do these phrases* have in common?

They reflect an orientation toward action.  Just look at those verbs and gerunds!  In the US and many other places, being active and taking action have high cultural value.  Why wouldn’t teaching then, the world’s largest profession, reflect the value that being active is important?  In a compelling twist on this belief, SIT alumnus Kevin Giddens poses a challenge to teachers worldwide: do nothing.

Using his experience as a source of learning, Giddens asks teachers to consider their teaching in light of their students’ learning.  After all, why teach if no one’s learning?  What he does in his blog, Do-Nothing Teaching, is to challenge teachers to think more deeply about what they do.  He provides a few insightful and incite-full inspirations and states his dare up front.  He asks teachers to take a particular kind of risk.  He challenges them to do nothing as a way of teaching and then to write about it before June 1, 2011.  He even offers a prize.

Although his challenge begins with a verb denoting action, it finishes with the thing, a noun, that denotes no thing.  The juxtaposition gives his challenge grammatical spice while stirring the cooking pot of creativity and cognition.  Delicious!

In apparent contradiction to his challenging approach, Giddens has been busy.  He earned SIT’s MA in TESOL, is a World Learning-certified Best Practices in TESOL trainer, teaches English language at Sookmyung Women’s University, and is a founder of Korea TESOL’s Reflective Practice Special Interest Group.

Kevin Giddens

*  “Learn through experience” and “learn by doing” signal reflective practices and are at the heart of SIT educations.  Reflective teaching is based on theories of learning inspired by the works of John Dewey, David Kolb, David Hawkins, Carol Rogers, and many others.

Freeman, Donald.  Doing Teacher Research: From Inquiry to Understanding.  Pacific Grove:  Heinle and Heinle, 1998.  This book was written while the author was a professor at SIT.

 Just Do It! is a trademark of Nike, Inc.

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