One of the most common myths parents have about teaching is that the teacher’s job is to simply teach the textbook. After all, isn’t the textbook logical and efficient? Therefore, many parents naturally believe that effective learning is more about quantity than quality.

As BSI becomes an IB school, we continue to emphasize that teachers should not rely on textbooks only to teach subject matter. However there is a perceived need to “cover” content to the detriment of students’ meaningful and enduring learning experiences.

I can assure you there is no research that supports the merits of a “coverage mode of instruction.” On the contrary, a synthesis of thirty years of research on learning and cognition points out that this method prevents students from developing competencies necessary for the future, whereas instructional methodologies that model how experts organize and solve problems are helpful to students’ learning. (Bransford et al., 1999)

Then, what is the job of a teacher? My time proven belief is straightforward: a teacher’s job is to cause understanding, as reflected in worthy accomplishments. Therefore, he or she must facilitate the learners’ insights and coach them to transfer their knowledge and skills. This is the actual job of a teacher.

With this end in mind, the content and “professing” serve as means and the textbook serves as just one of many resources. The textbook is not the syllabus nor is it the curriculum. It is my sincere hope that as a school community we understand this critical learning tenant and that we see an inquiry based approach to real, enduring learning.

Yours in learning,

Paul Combs