In 2011, Huitt defined teaching as “not giving knowledge or skills to students; teaching is the process of providing guided opportunities for students to produce relatively permanent change through the engagement in experiences provided by the teacher.” It is crystal clear from Huitt’s definition of teaching that teachers can only facilitate learning. It means that we can only make learning possible or easier by providing “guided opportunities” to our students. We can’t tell them exactly what to do to learn, however we can open the “right” doors and allow them to discover learning on their own.
How can someone tell that learning has occurred? Huitt (2011) said that “learning can be defined as the relatively permanent change in an individual’s behavior or behavior potential (or capability) as a result of experience or practice (i.e., an internal change inferred from overt behavior).” The relative change in behavior, whether cognitive, affective, or manipulative, is the hallmark of true learning. For example, we would know that a child has learned how to count from 1 to 10 if the child was able to demonstrate it through a change in his/her behavior. Furthermore, learning is personal and the change in behavior as a result of learning is very relative. As teachers, we can only do so much. At the end of the day, what and how much a student can absorb will still largely depend on his/her motivation and determination to learn. In the words of Shuell (1986), it is not so much what the teacher does that influences learning outcomes but, rather, what the student does.
Cortes, Josefina R. (1993). Explorations in the Theory and Practice of Philippine Education 1965-1993. Philippines: University of the Philippines Press.
Huitt, W. (2011). Why Study Educational Psychology? Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved from http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/intro/whyedpsy.html.