August 21, 2013
“Teachers create all other professions”.
Teachers also create their own profession. Some of the students in your class will eventually become teachers.
To what extent are you modeling effective teaching for those students?
I was a late comer to education. Teaching did not seem an interesting option for my life’s work.
I was wrong.
When are you explicitly discussing teaching and learning with your students? How are you helping your students recognize the intellectual challenge of teaching others? In what way do you explicitly share your passion for teaching with kids?
August 1, 2013
While teaching my summer ed tech course today, some of my students were too quickly going to the “what’s wrong with this picture” line of thinking.
(I know, you’re surprised that my students have that attitude)
Then, after taking some effort to help them consider the positive aspects of the technology use, I explained that my goal with technology in education is ‘critical curiosity’.
With this stance, I’m always wondering how new technology might get used in the classroom, but am, at the same time, (not really) asking how a new technology might reinforce traditional teaching practices, create inequity in my class, or even reduce the intellectual level of the classroom.
November 23, 2012
Here is a pic from Goodlad’s “A Place Called School”. We must stop pulling educators in opposite directions. We cannot expect movement with equal, but opposite forces being applied.
October 3, 2012
Last night I tried a new approach with one of my college classes. The course is about science education. We read an article that summarizes a high school science activity that addresses climate, heat capacity, investigation design, & the nature of science.
I first had students read the article to identify how the authors addressed the nature of science as well as missed opportunities. Then, they went back through the article to note places when the activity fit with learning theory. In a third reading, I asked the preservice teachers to identify teacher actions/behaviors that seemed important for the activity to work. Fourth, I had students investigate ways in which the authors addressed safety issues. In a final reading, we investigated how the article sought to teach the science content. That is, how the authors organize & scaffold content learning for students.
In between each reading, we discussed ideas & pros/cons of the activity in relation to the lens through which we had just viewed the article. I imagine most people would consider reading the same article 5 times would be redundant. I found the students’ ideas to grow in sophistication as we progressed & the different lenses provided new perspectives.
Each time we read the article, we embarked on a new inquiry into the nature of teaching. This kind of close reading is not often achieved & asking students to view the same reading through different lenses provided scaffolding for them to dig deeper into the piece. Imagine if we encouraged younger students to read so closely instead of quizzing them on mundane details*.
*when I wrote the phrase “mundane details” I immediately thought of Office Space. ;-)
October 1, 2012
Below are some captures from Goodlad’s “a Place Called School” reminding us that schools are complex social systems. I know I’ve been guilty of thinking “everything depends on the teacher”.
September 29, 2012
The picture above is from Stuart Selber’s book, “Multiliteracies for a Digital Age”. I highly recommend it – particularly for language arts teachers.
Regarding the underlined portion: I think we’ve thought long & hard about infrastructural needs. Now it is time we start asking about how technology privileges some things (people, skills, tasks, thought, etc) over others. I particularly think we need to continue to question the pedagogical assumptions of the software (or any resource, tech or not). If we really questioned the pedagogical assumptions of proposals, then khan academy, TFA, standardized tests, etc would not be around. Unfortunately, in education we let politicians & other non-educators shoot first & ask questions later.
September 22, 2012
In “Silent Spring”, Rachel Carson calls for natural solutions to pest problems (weeds & insects). I wonder what the parallel might be for education? What are the “pests” we are trying to eradicate? Student apathy, low accountability, & lack of utility are three that come to mind. What the. Would be the “natural” solution. More standardized testing, overly scripted curricula, & forced use of technology seem unnatural. I suspect, if we think hard enough, there is a way to control the “pests” of education without such invasive means.
September 22, 2012
I’m reading Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”. Nothing here is new (it’s an old book & I’m a chemist) so it resonates. However, I am making a connection. Rachel was concerned about what our blind application of technology (pesticides, fertilizer, etc) does to the Earth. I wonder if her arguments might be well applied to education. In what way is our blind application of technology (from computers to standardized tests) ruining the fertile ground of our students’ minds? What long range effects might we be creating in hopes of short term gain?
September 20, 2012
Below is the back cover of Kevin Kelly’s book, “What Technology Wants”. I have not read the book but have two thoughts based on just the back cover: 1) To think evolution has an inevitable nature is a gross misunderstanding of evolution. Given the flaw in what seems to be the basis of his argument, 2) he is going to have a hard time supporting even a neo-determinism. Given the large scale dismissal of simple determinism, he already has an uphill battle without faulty premises.
Has anyone read this? I’d love to be compelled to read this book with a comment.
September 18, 2012
See the underlined sentence below. In my experience, the teacher must lead the inquiry, but in the best scenarios, the kids typically think they are leading.