The education community loves experts. Experts are flown in, bussed in, and wined and dined. If you are an expert on something chances are there is a school that wants to pay you for sharing your thoughts. In fact, you don’t even have to claim to be an expert, others will often bestow that title upon you as a favor. After all, how else will your expense be excused? So I wonder, how does one become an expert, after all, aren’t we all just humble learners?
The word expert is tinged with weight. To be an expert you must be not just knowledgable, but also an authority. Yet who decides when one is an authority? Does it need a book deal? A huge following? Or someone else who is an expert to look at you kindly? Who decides who the experts are?
We are quick to bring in outside experts whenever there is a need but often I wonder who could we have turned to on-site? Who at this school could already have shared that same information at a fraction of the price? Who at this school could have had the opportunity to teach others, much as we teach our students every day. I consider myself lucky being surrounded by experts every day. I find myself among some incredible educators that work hard to bring their expertise into the classrooms to benefit the students. Isn’t it time for all of us to recognize the experts among us?
I dare to propose that we are all experts. Although not world known, or even known outside of our small circles, yet we are knowledgable of something particular, something that we can claim authority on. And so consider this; at school you are indeed surrounded by experts. Whether they are experts at teaching the civil war, grammar, haikus or how to dribble, they have deep intimate knowledge that they can pass on to others. So share your expertise with others, go ahead open up and discuss what you know you are good at. We have to get better at celebrating each others knowledge, each others succeses, simply each other. We are all experts, how will you foster expertise?
2 thoughts on “Bring Out the Experts”
Pernille,YES! I think it is especially important for teachers to sell themselves as experts. Too often communities view teachers as unempowered individuals ("Those who can't do, teach"). We must share our understanding of best practices. You might be interested in this Ted Talk on "How to Use Experts." Noreena Hertz warns us to be critical of experts, while having more confidence in our own capacities.http://www.ted.com/talks/noreena_hertz_how_to_use_experts_and_when_not_to.html
I hope I didn't inspire this blog post =)Thank you for sharing your expertise with my staff today. Sorry we couldn't fly you in and wine and dine you. Well, as a Christian school we would have to soda and dine you (haha).I do love how technology has allowed us, as a community of educators, to come together even across long distances. Even though we are 1000+ miles apart, you are still a colleague with something to offer our school. I love using Skype with my students and teachers to connect with "common experts" around the world, whether it is missionaries in another country, a fellow teacher, or someone from NASA. Thanks again for your thoughts.