Guest post: Laura Gibbs joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma in 1999, and she has been teaching fully online courses since 2002. You can find out more at her website: MythFolklore.net, which is also home to the "Growth Mindset Cats" -- Cats.MythFolklore.net.
March 2016 Archives
Students who are about to go into the world, out of our watchful environment need opportunities to practice first. Let's give them that and trust that they will take advantage of the chances we provide. Just because there will be a few kids who take advantage in a negative way doesn't mean we should punish the whole group.
Although education is supposed to ensure democracy on some level, the system treats different kids inconsistenly really separating the haves and have nots - and those who don't mind being complicit. We have the power to change this dynamic, at least in our own spaces by giving kids voice in the process.
Most students are curious about many things, it's just a matter of tapping into them. Listen to them while they speak and offer them more opportunities to share their ideas. Try to record it when it happens because magic usually happens and it's great to have proof of those experiences.
We all have our pet peeves and hot button issues that provoke emotional or passionate responses. Know what yours are and act in a manner fitting to a person in our positions. Mistakes will happen and that is okay too, but students should witness an adult taking responsibility for his/her actions and hopefully will act accordingly in the future.
Google Forms is a great way for teachers to gather data about learning or create exit tickets or provide feedback. The possibilities are limitless. Aside from being really easy to create, forms allows us to collect data in an efficient way with the help of the students. We no longer have to walk around with a clipboard all of the time, trying to record what students to tell us. Instead we can put the onus on students to participate in the experience.
As teachers, we need to allow projects to play out as they will, adjusting as we go and making sure to really examine the data before we make a judgment on the success of what has transpired. As long as we have collected multiple pieces of data, we can easily point to student learning and growth and then problem shoot or provide supports where needed.
Students need to learn to hear feedback in a meaningful way that doesn't just put them on the defensive, but rather keeps them open to moving forward and becoming a better learner.
The purpose of the president's "Computer Science for All" initiative is not to flood the market with more unemployed Ph.D graduates, but to democratize what he (and many "true believers") see as a fundamental skill that will continue to influence all fields.
ack of expertise at the top is one reason why schools and businesses differ. The second reason that separates schools from businesses is that schools, or at least public schools, have no control over their raw materials. Expecting schools to be run like a business is, in a word, INSANE! That doesn't mean that educators can't learn from some of what business does. I know I have. It does mean that business people and politicians should get out of the way and let educators run our schools. If this happens things can only get better.
As educational philosophy continues to shift based on current research, new teacher programs must reflect the reform in the classroom environment. It seems sad and weird that folks coming out of traditional programs are still learning what I learned so long ago with little modification. This needs to change
Hands-on activities that require students to activate a lot of skills at once take practice. Breaking these complicated but rigorous learning experiences into pieces can be very helpful and satisfying to both the teacher and the students.
The role of teacher needs to be continually adjusted to suit the needs of our learners. Education has catered to the adults for too long and therefore has missed the mark. If we are truly invested in helping our learners become 21st century ready, we need to empower them more and then support them in their success and failures. In this way, they will learn to cope with both of those experiences in meaningful ways.
Who do your students most align with, the positivity that joy espouses or the need to think deeply about the weight of the world that sadness reminds us exists? Perhaps it's disgust or fear or anger... whichever it is, be mindful that they need each other to be a whole.