Merriam-Webster defines pedagogy as “the art, science, or profession of teaching.” Educators have an array of teaching styles and techniques they can use to help students learn. “You are part of us” is a familiar phrase to teachers working in alternative learning settings. Indeed, the journey toward a student’s academic success can begin with just those 6 powerful words. But sometimes, I find students may need something different than what is suggested by that phrase.
Our SCSF director reminds us all to esteem the students. I try to put that principle into practice each day. But let’s face it. The summer months are upon us and we are in school. The mornings are foggy. We are burned out, tired. We would each prefer to be somewhere else, relaxing. So again we fail at this high school effort.
To combat this student (and teacher) lethargy, I try to actively listen to each and every one of my students. I offer my knowledge to them, serving as a resource in subjects where I have had decades of experience. I try to engage them by sharing tips and clues that may be useful in the pursuit of their studies, like how numbers are organized into patterns and more. Then I watch our students use these clues to come to their own conclusions.
This is how I expose them to scholarly mathematics; matrices, physical relationships present in scientific application. Then, I am able to show them symbols substituted for words so that they may use this knowledge to help them create profound activities for themselves. Using topics the learners have knowledge and interest about helps us identify – together — what we can successfully explore academically.
I find that discussing math to our students at the Success Center stimulates their curiosity. I like to think that my teaching method quietly piques their interest about why an architect needs to know the slope of the land for a construction item, or how an engineer checks the true-ness of a corner. Perpendicular spaces or corners of buildings now come alive in the student’s mind. This is my way of building an appetite within the students, for learning.
We have philosophers and musicians among us at the Success Center SF. There are engineers here, and architects; brilliant minds that hold things in. I only ask them to show me what they like, and they do. All students have different talents and strengths, interests. This exploration is one of the many things we do at the Early Morning Study Academy.