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Fri Nov 8, 2013, 10:08 PM

From my article, "Teaching is Not Rocket Science; itís More Important"


In all the discussions of testing, common core curriculum, distance learning, hybrid, on-line, assistive technology, contextualized learning, participatory learning and other "new" and "improved" techniques and jargon, what really matters to be an affective teacher is being drowned out. To be a good teacher you donít have to be a master of technology, create dozens of ďinnovativeĒ hands-on lessons, be the master of online lesson creation, have read everything ever written by Paolo Freire or know all the objectives in the common core curriculum. No. Beyond knowing your subject well, you need something more fundamental and human.

To be a good teacher you have to listen. You have to listen to not only the words spoken by the students but to their body language. You need to listen to the shrugs, the sighs, the rolling eyes, the smiles, the signs of understanding, the signs of confusion. And you must respond and be able to respond with patience and true caring. You canít feign caring, with children nor adults. They know when you donít care.


For many of you, this is all logical and sensible. I wish the heads of local, state and national education departments understood this. Instead of creating new jargon in an attempt to boost the profile of the discipline of teaching, some common sense language about how to reach students is needed. Instead of creating a national set of standards for schools, as if students were all the same, we must acknowledge that each student is an individual, glorious puzzle with their own set of needs and values. Instead of forcing more technology on teachers or new software platforms, a refocus on what is really important in the classroom is warranted.

Tex Shelters

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Reply From my article, "Teaching is Not Rocket Science; itís More Important" (Original post)
texshelters Nov 2013 OP
Rosa Luxemburg Nov 2013 #1
LWolf Nov 2013 #2

Response to texshelters (Original post)

Fri Nov 8, 2013, 10:17 PM

1. Teaching is about engaging students

Finding ways of hooking students into learning. The hook is very important. Enquiry based learning with the teacher being the facilitator is the way to go. All these objectives, goals nonsense are irrelevant.

When I was at school (many moons ago) I did learn things. I think the powers of education at federal and state level are chasing their own tails. Education should be teacher-driven.

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 10, 2013, 01:05 PM

2. Yes,

and I believe inquiry-based learning is a powerful model.

"Engaging students," though, is a buzzword that has been repeatedly misused. Misused to mean that it's the teachers' jobs to engage students, to entertain them, to make sure they aren't bored, not the students' jobs to be active learners, and engage in the opportunities given them. "Boring" is an attitude, and it's a choice on students' part. There's always something interesting in learning for those who want to find it.

As I have cause to know, being one of those life-long learners who managed to get something from every teacher, even the burnt-out less interesting individuals. Thankfully, though, there weren't many of those; I was educated, and got to spend time teaching, in the days before the authoritarian standards and accountability movement with it's high stakes testing, with it's propensity for blame, threat, and punishment, with its obsession with "data," with constant "formative assessment" in the form of continuous testing, with its scripted curricula, for-profit "consultants," etc., etc., etc., murdered the joy in learning and teaching.

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