a thought on teaching

July 10th, 2010

The book I’m reading now, Teaching Writing Online by Scott Warnock, is probably not particularly interesting to anyone who’s not, well, teaching online writing classes. But it does make me think of something relating to most of what we do online.

One of the tricks in an online class is to make sure it’s not an individual channel for each student; that the students are aware of the opportunities to learn from each other, and to prove themselves to each other, not just the teacher. He has some specific ideas I’m definitely going to use in the fall.

And maybe this is a good way to think of all our leadership roles–teaching Buddhism, organizing communities, blogging, publishing. The goal to promote your own viewpoint and control the experience, but to facilitate people’s ability to learn from each other. As technology makes more networking possible, there will be more and more knowledge spread through the infrastructure–but more need for leaders who can guide and encourage healthy peer-to-peer sharing.

And maybe this is another way to think of the Buddha–not as an idol we have to revere, but as the one who brought together the Sangha, the community of Buddhists, and the teachings we receive from one another are as important as the source.

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