In Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, he discusses his story about how he became successful and achieved his dreams. He discusses many key points that I could learn from about teaching and learning, but there were a few points that really stood out to me such as the importance of dedication and self reflection.
My favorite point he made about dedication was about the brickwalls. He says that when things get you down “brick walls” are there, and they are there to let us prove how bad we want things. I think this holds true to both learning and teaching. The key to learning is making mistakes! Sometimes we may not want to climb those brickwalls, but in order to be true learners, we climb those brick walls to show our dedication and determination. He says brick walls stop people who do not want it bad enough, and I think that is very true! As a teacher, it is important for us to help our students get past these brick walls with constant encouragement and support. We must be dedicated to pushing our students, because if they mess up and we are not there to guide them, then that it shows that we, as teachers, gave up on helping them. Teachers and students must “never bail, because the best gold is at the bottom of the barrel of crap.” I found this very influencing and so very true. If we do not complain and just work harder, then when we get to the finish line, the rewards are so much sweeter!
One main key Dr. Pausch discusses about is the importance of self-reflection. You self reflect in numerous ways such as through peer feedback, an audience, and the way you treat the people who help you. It is always important to have critics! He used peer feedback to show students how they ranked against their peers. For learning, this is great for self reflection because you get a chance to think about how can you improve your process or how you treat others. The one thing as learners and teachers that we must realize is that must listen to this feedback. We have to open our ears, and listen to what others have to say, because feedback is the most valuable tool for learning or teaching. One thing that is also important for self-reflection is having an audience. In Dr. Pausch’s video, he talks about how the students displayed all their work in a show. For teaching, we should always incorporate an audience for our students whether it be their peers, the school, or a public audience. Having an audience gives the students a want to make their work exceptional, because they are showing it to other people. As for self reflection and learning, this is important because it gives you the chance to look at your work and make sure it is acceptable to show to a general public.
A few additional things about learning and teaching that I learned from Dr. Pausch is that it is important to have a PLN. His whole success story is based on the people he got to know. What is also important for learning and teaching is how you say things. There are always good and bad ways to say things, and it is important for anyone to watch the way they say things. It is also important for teaching to not set specific goals. By this he meant, that we must say that what they are doing is good, but they can always do better. By not setting a limitation, we are expanding what the students can do. Also for teaching, you have to make it fun while they are learning something hard. This is great for learning, because how much more do you learn when the project is fun versus when it is boring? One last key thing I learned about learning and teaching is that you must roll with the punches. Dr. Pausch says you will get arrows in your back, and sometimes anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.