One of my maxims is that “good teaching comes out of depth.” If a teacher knows his subject deeply and the particulars that he wants to teach for the day, he can make it interesting, provocative, connect it with other areas of the lives of his students. In other words, if I’ve read Plato’s Republic eight or nine times, I’m able to teach it out of the depth that comes along with that experience, as well as what I’ve gained from reading other things about Plato and the republic. It’s helpful, even indispensable to be able to see how the parts relate to the whole and the whole to the parts, and how the Republic relates to later works of philosophy. To the contrary, if a teacher is still trying to master his subject, his teaching is going to be the source of a great amount of confusion. Last night, I was thinking about this in relation to the shared inquiry approach to teaching.
This tends to be the traditional approach to teaching. How does shared inquiry fit into this, when a teacher is a learner along with the students. The teacher is a facilitator, guiding the students through the discipline of study, asking questions and engaging the material. For example, I’m learning Latin III right along with my students. I’m far from being sure that this is the idea method, but it does have its strengths. I’m able to identify with their roadblocks and weaknesses. I get the joy of discovery along with my students. The students end up doing most of the work in the class instead of the teacher.
In terms of colleges, St; John’s College is exclusively devoted to shared inquiry as well as a handful of of others. A poetry specialist might be teaching Newton’s Pricnicipia Matehatica, or science person may teach Aristotle’s Politics.So, while I’m not on shaky ground since others do this, I’n trying to figure out what the advantages are, if any. However, to provide an education better than the one I received, I have to branch out and challenge myself to be able to teach it in a worthwhile manner.