Over the past couple of weeks, the posts below have given me reason to pause and ponder – savored with some combination of coffee, wine, and chocolate…
Teaching is a balancing act. On the one hand, we want students to be creative. Ideally, students independently explore topics of interest and demonstrate learning in a format of their choice.
On the other hand, we must measure and report learning as it relates to educational standards.
To what extent can the two expectations coexist?
I love it when a fellow writer is able to articulate the seemingly indescribable. Author Kenny Pieper reminds us that we all experience foibles – lessons we plan perfectly that don’t run as expected. His article conjured up memories of my mother’s tongue-in-cheek comment: My lessons would run perfectly were it not for the students.
Kenny’s smooth writing style makes me want to open a bottle of wine and be swallowed up by a recliner. A good read. Really.
As a self-proclaimed social media introvert, I appreciate it when authors speak for folks like me who choose their words carefully. These are a few things about me that are often misunderstood:
- I’m not arguing with you…but that doesn’t mean I agree with you.
- I’d rather ask questions than give my opinion – especially at first. After hearing everyone’s point of view and digging through the research, I’ll come back with a few suggestions on how to move forward.
- I prefer to say difficult things directly to people – in a quiet place where no one loses face. I’ve probably said tough things to plenty of colleagues – you just haven’t been around to hear them.
Ah, one of my soap box topics. When I coach teachers, I often ask teachers to do the following:
- Articulate what you are seeing.
- Decide if what you see is an academic issue or a behavioral issue (sometimes it is a technical issue).
- Address the correct problem. Grades should reflect what student know and are able to do. Behavioral issues require a one-on-one conversation with the student. Try to “get into their heads” to identify the obstacles to being on time, submitting work, etc.
- If unsure, address the academic issue first. Many students hide academic challenges with behaviors that help them save face in front of peers. When the student feels successful, discuss ways you can help the student in the future – so that the disruption need not precede the academic assistance.
- If the issue is behavioral and a one-on-one conversation ineffective, round up a team of parents, counselors, and principals for intervention and support.
Bryan Harris has some great quotes:
Increasing time on task is pointless if the tasks themselves are not productive (quoting John Hattie).
While praise may encourage effort, specific feedback is necessary in order to truly learn and grow.
Some of the most valuable and long-lasting learning comes from the personal insights and “ah-hahs” we discover when learning about ourselves.
What have you read lately?
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