Taking Advice

Sofya (1).jpg

This is Sofya Zeylikman.

Sofya is a connected learner and a connected educator. By integrating engineering, science, design,  function, and production, Sofya has been able to teach furniture design in a whole new way. Though you could read the whole story linked above, i will provide you with Sofya’s “Key Takeaways” about teaching and learning as an educator, which are as follows:

  • The older you are, the more you have to learn, not the other way around.
  • As a designer very new to teaching, trust your instincts with what you know, and feel free to reach out to educators on tips to help you feel comfortable in a classroom.
  • Be ready to be flexible!
  • Let your students make their own mistakes (within reason of course!) as we often tell students it’s good to fail, but often times try to gear our students away from failure, which is how learning happens. Sometimes, it’s best to learn what NOT to do first hand.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses and be honest with yourself and the students.
  • You are there to provide a platform for growth and inquiry, not to provide your personal knowledge.
  • Juxtapose technical and human elements — how to use as well as how to make.

Sofya and i seem to have some similar ideas about education and teaching. I think that Sofya touches in a lot of key points that stem from connected learning. My favorite is her idea that as a teacher we are there to provide access to resources, knowledge, skills, and strategies that our students do not. Rather than teach our students about Shakespeare, or the finer points of grammar, we should provide our students with opportunities to explore, learn, and use new skills and strategies through the medium of novels, essays, etc. Though it is a scary prospect from the teacher’s side, i really like the idea of letting student’s explore and do their own learning. While i am certainly there to guide the process and provide direction or help for those who need it, i’d rather student’s be actively using and exploring their knowledge on their own rather, coming to me with questions and ideas, rather than looking to me for answers.


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