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Pedagogy 2.0


John Norton of Teacher Leadership Today (who has experience in these matters) says it's all well and good to talk about how Web 2.0 tools will transform teaching and learning. But people tend to forget that technology is only half the problem. The real issue, he says, is that many educators lack experience in the construtivist, student-centered instructional strategies needed to make the most of social-learning tools:

Constructivist approaches have never been ubiquitous in modern American schools, and the knowledge of why and how to teach so that students (paraphrasing Schlechty) are the real knowledge workers—whose product is life-long learning—is still not something to be taken for granted in every school and classroom. Add to that the undeniable fact that a common reaction among school leaders and many teachers to No Child Left Behind (whether intended by its social engineers or not) has been to suppress constructivist practices in favor of “fact-tory” teaching that they believe will give the biggest standardized test payoff (whether it does or not). ...
But unless and until we create school environments where teachers are actively encouraged and supported to master and practice the teaching strategies associated with constructivism, we’re going to be bogged down in Pedagogy 1.0 for some time to come. “Time” being a very operative word here.


I c/not agree w/you more...the constructivism model truly works, and my college taught future teachers about it...however, once in a public school classroom, it was hard to teach in this way...I have witnessed amazing student growth and learning when the student is allowed to build on the knowledge they already have and to encourage them to take control and be responsible for their own learning...As teachers our job is not to just teach and test...but to create a love of learning in our students and hope to turn 'em into life-long learners, as that is what we all are...

It is not so much about teaching as it is about learning.
Our research-based school was founded on the basics of constructivism. The first day we announced to the students and parents that we, the educational leaders, do not own knowledge. It is free in this country. We, the educational leaders, do not own the instrument of change-the student's brain. The student does. Learning can and should have the opportunity to take place 24/7/365. Mastery of a topic or subject area can occur outside of the classroom.

So, we allowed students to set their own goals (with basic requirements to insure timely completion). Collaboration among the teacher, student and parent laid the foundation for any one of the three to be the initiator, the reviewer, or the assessor. Productivity, effort and completed assignments were the basis for evaluation. All missed questions were corrected. Immediate feedback and spaced repetition were essential. This allowed for students to progress naturally and accurately. Intrinsic motivation was high and students reflected the findings in the "Psychology of Choice." Self-direction leads to responsibility, to a feeling of self-worth, and higher accomplishment.

The facilitator approached teaching and learning in a visionary way. Providing opportunities on topics that were future traditional obstacles on a broader level. We researched and fine-tuned the latest learning techniques that reduced energy levels for required mastery. In another words we entered into super-learning.

Results: Students completed all math work K-6 by the end of the traditional 2nd grade level-4 years ahead of time schedule. Individualized reading logs allow for students to read at levels two to four years ahead of schedule. Some of these students were considered learning disabled before they arrived at our doorsteps.

Standardized tests were called listening games because the student had to listen carefully to instructions to play the game. Stress was eliminated. These students tested out on norm-referenced tests in the top 10% of the nation.

It is common sense-nothing more. Real learning is a biological/chemical change that occurs differently in each individual. We would not require children to grow or heal (another biological/chemical function) at the same time in the same way-why would we want to require students to learn the same facts at the same time.

Most important we learned the real reason for an education-to strengthen our knowledge banks and fine-tune our personal skills to affect the lives of others. We created plays, performances, services for our community to lessen the burden of others. We explored peer teaching and free discovery to evaluate the purpose of each. We contacted world leaders and people of standing around the world and shared our thoughts and good wishes. We reached out - we touched the lives of others.

We can agree on what should be learned-call it curriculum or essential knowledge requirements.

But putting a restrictive time line on learning by one dispenser or individual is archaic.

As true educators we can provide the opportunities for success. Honoring and empowering the individual to take responsibility -to improve himself to improve the world is the noblest element of education.

Start a "No Excuses-No Limitations" program in your school. It is easy and highly efficient. More information is available at [email protected] Bio information on Ms. Mac can be found at www.fortword.com

I agree with Bearner's comment, “the constructivism model truly works”. I believe constructivism allows students to acquire knowledge in a collaborative environment with the teacher as a guide to encourage and provide assistance when needed. Collaborative group work keeps students on task and promotes the development of empathy among peers. I strongly agree with Ms. Mac's comment, “Learning can and should have the opportunity to take place 24/7/365. Mastery of a topic or subject area can occur outside of the classroom". I feel the same way and will remember that quote when teaching my future students. I think it is important for teachers to heighten student's interest in learning and to escalate their critical thinking, problem, solving, and application skills. The development of critical thinking skills benefits students not only in academic areas but also in real-life situations. It is important for students to develop an appreciation for the application of content material because we as teachers need to make certain that students understand the relevance of their subject matter in everyday life.

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Recent Comments

  • Haley: I agree with Bearner's comment, “the constructivism model truly works”. read more
  • Ms. Mac (Jeanine McGregor): It is not so much about teaching as it is read more
  • Beamer: I c/not agree w/you more...the constructivism model truly works, and read more




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