I used to think I was a pretty good teacher. Now I realize that I did the best I could with the knowledge I had, but my classroom was woefully inadequate for many of my students. I failed to equip them with what they needed. I now believe my students are competent to show me what they need, if only I take the time to listen and ask authentic questions. I’m becoming a better teacher by giving up a lot of what I used to think.
In our technological world we have, for the first time, the capability to teach students how to use the strengths and passions of their inner world to make the outer world a better place. This is why the experience of art, music, drama, dance and sports education is essential. It is up to adults to help students make keys for the door of their inner world; to show them how to find the personal energy to address the why’s and the how’s of today’s challenges.
Texas ed tech leader Tim Holt shares a story from the writing process of his first book to demonstrate that what we often preach about personal learning networks is true: Help is out there when you need it.
Short of banning smartphones (a short-term solution, at best), I think the evolution of AI services like Siri means that the problems I pose for my 8th grade math students will have to shift from a focus on finding the answer as the endpoint — to a greater focus on analysis. OK, you have the answer but so what? What does that answer mean in a real-life situation?
And I wonder how teachers in other content areas might have to rethink their teaching and assessment strategies, with Siri at our students’ beck and call?
I believe it is not enough to judge humankind on scientific principles — which historically have often been temporary truths. Schooling must respect the art of human-ness and so we should design natural learning environments to maximize our children’s innate assets.
“I’ve been reading about Project Based Learning for some time now,” writes international teacher-blogger Jenny Luca, “and struggled trying to find a way to integrate this kind of pedagogy into my regular English classroom practice.” This year Jenny and her teacher teammates included a 3-week PBL experience in their unit on Romeo and Juliet. “This has been one of the most rewarding activities I’ve been involved in this year. I’m invested in it and I can feel that passion for what I do apparent when I’m interacting with the students.”