Our brains don’t like unresolved issues, writes El Paso Schools IT director Tim Holt. “Hollywood figured out long ago that cliffhangers are sticky — that our brains remember unresolved issues longer than plotlines that just plod along.” In his latest post about the advantages of problem-based learning, Holt says PBL lessons should also keep students busy resolving the unresolved.
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.
Another major a-ha for me as an online teacher is the dynamic and potential for group involvement. When I describe what I do to people who are, shall we say, “not connected to the world of web culture,” they are amazed. “You mean the kids can see you and hear you? Don’t they get bored?” Well, if all they did was listen to me teach, then yes, they would get bored. Wouldn’t you? Which is why I make sure that my classes do not involve lecturing.
I believe that every person is unique and every child can learn, but I recognize that students learn best when engaged â€” where expectations are appropriately challenging within an environment that is both safe and that contributes to the dignity and self-worth of all. I also believe that engagement depends on quality interactions resulting from connections that happen inside and outside of the classroom. Here are some of the Engagement+Connection ideas I plan to use this year.