How to become a teacher: role and meaning

Teaching has been, is and always will be a key element for society in every historical epoch and latitude since each sector from which it is composed lays the foundations of literacy, education and culture.

If the role of a teacher is well known because most have known their teachers since elementary school, the etymology of the word “teaching” is not evident to most people.

This word derives from the Latin IN-SIGNUM:

“IN” is the prefix indicating movement of place, direction, projection and vector grammatically, otherwise expressed as “from -> to”.

“SIGNUM” is a noun of the second declension in the  accusative and indicates a sign or signal, and the code conveying the knowledge to be directed.

From this definition it is evident that teaching is the practice in which a teacher or  possessor of knowledge transmits this knowledge to the devoid students who receive it.

But, is this really the only meaning offered to us by this word that can fully describe the role of a teacher, or, does turning the perspective upside down give us a new semantic vision?

Let us try to replace “IN” with the prefix “EX”

which indicates movement of place in Latin for an exiting movement, a movement of resurgence, and a movement of emergence, “to -> from”: from this we obtain a new terminology, EX-SIGNO, an ablative noun  which we can interpret  as  an extrapolation, a pulling out of , and recognition of  the signal and the inclination.

Working in these terms, we find, in my opinion, the second meaning that underlies the concept of teaching which is complementary to the first and  identifies the teacher as that figure able to recognize the pre-existing knowledge in the students and makes it emerge according to their inclination, singular and unique as it may be.
It is therefore necessary to propose a new terminology in this regard: the teaching of a lesson held by a teacher will not be understood only as INSTRUCTION, but also as EXSTRUCTION. Having said that, in conclusion, a good teacher should be able to oscillate between the two positions described above: on the one hand, assessing the level of knowledge acquired by the students in objective terms and according to traditional criteria and, on the other hand,  recognizing and bringing out the specific inclination of each one of them and the subjectivity with which they pose in relation to the subject in question.

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