It is hard to specifically pin down what guides my teaching or learning. However, I do keep going back to a framework that I learned while at the Harvard-Macy Institute. At the institute, I was introduced to the educational framework by David A. Kolb called Experiential Learning Theory. Kolb theorized that the differences in the way people learned had to do with the way they perceive and process an experience (Armstrong, E., Parsa-Parsi, R., 2005). Essentially we learn from our experiences. This idea means that education as a whole must start with a foundation for discovering what a person’s experiences are, then reflectin and building upon those experiences to form new knowledge.
Experiential learning does not require a formal educational setting to occur. We learn from our experiences every day. Think about people who become so infatuated with a topic that they often become just as much of an expert than those who teach it. Take amateur rocket scientists for example, with the recent success of SpaceX, there are people who write blogs and create video content that has just as much expert content that an engineer from SpaceX could create.
It is really quite interesting to see how well people can educate themselves about such a complex topic. Not only are they learning it, they are teaching it to others who do not have as high of a level of comprehension. They have become the teacher.
Personally, I do not believe there can be learning without a teacher, even outside of a formal setting. There must be something or someone that does the teaching. It may not be a formally educated professor, but one could argue that there must be a teacher to have learned. A teacher can be a Youtube video, a blog, or a friend chatting about a common interest. This means we are all, in some capacity a teacher. This is a great privilege and should be treated as such!