April 2014 Archives

College ready? It's not about test scores. It's about having the self-awareness to choose IHEs and fields of study wisely, in an era when people are likely to have more than a dozen grown-up jobs. It's about having a clear purpose for attending college. If the primary purpose is cashing in, OK. But there are other reasons to get a rich and varied education.


Like any number of silver policy bullets--the Common Core State [sic] Standards, teacher evaluation by test data, and for-profit charter schools spring to mind here--requiring additional physical education in schools is not the go-to remedy for a clear crisis, in this case, rampant childhood obesity. It (like the aforementioned bullets) is simply something we can do, when the real, long-term solution seems impossible, out of reach or "too expensive."


I'm certain I am speaking for teachers everywhere when I say this: Pedagogy is a real thing. What teachers--and professors--do in their classes matters. It impacts learning, application and motivation. And pedagogy is not simply technique--it's not a bag of management tips and tricks. It begins with knowing your students, having a clear picture of what they need to learn, devising and adapting strategies, sometimes shooting from the hip. And paying attention to your results.


Teachers who host rich conversations in their classrooms (whether in kindergarten or high school civics class) do so by asking juicy questions, and not presuming they have the one right answer. Lots and lots of questions. Provocative and probing questions that make students uneasy or curious. And they practice, practice, practice. Discussion--taking turns, sharing viewpoints, deconstruction of ideas, asking questions--is a learned skill.


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