The test of a good teacher

In Aphorisms for a Year, Alice Wellington Rollins proposes that the quality of a teacher is reflected in the depth of the questions asked by their students.

The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer. (Alice Wellington Rollins, Aphorisms for a Year [Entry for October 11], J. J. Little & Company, 1895)

Rings true to me. The most significant teachers in my life have not necessarily been ‘instructors’ in the first order, but people who ooze a personal love for learning and questioning. These are the infectious ones. These are the teachers you learn from because they seem to live in a constant state of exploration themselves. You learn from them because they are learning, not because they are teaching.

In a teaching paradigm obsessed with quizzes and exams, embracing inquiry as the grounding basis of pedagogy is where the revolution begins.

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