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Education is an act of empowerment. I see teaching as an offering of tools for performing a certain task and understanding our environment, so that we can be engaged participants in our environment. Beyond the specifics of the task at hand, the most important tool I can offer a learner is critical thinking, so that they can incorporate new knowledge, embody it, and carry it with them beyond our time working together.
I believe learning happens when the learner creates connections between knowledge and skills that they already possess thanks to their lived experience and knowledge and skills that are new. My role as an educator is to facilitate and catalyze these connections. Through observation and reflection, our physical and emotional experiences that may be seemingly unrelated to the topic or task at hand become the keys to unlocking the understanding of something new. The etymological origin of the word "to learn" in Spanish—aprender—supports this.
Photo by Kate L Photography
In this light, I see teaching as an invitation to the learner to see the world and their experiences from a new, insightful, and useful perspective.