"It seems that, if you just present the correct information, five things happen," he said. "One, students think they know it. Two, they don’t pay their utmost attention. Three, they don’t recognize that what was presented differs from what they were already thinking. Four, they don’t learn a thing. And five, perhaps most troublingly, they get more confident in the ideas they were thinking before."
It turns out that confusion is a powerful force in education
posted by shivohum
on Aug 15, 2014 -
Who or what broke my kids?
"The basic premise of the activity is that students must sort cards including probability statements, terms such as unlikely and probable, pictorial representations, and fraction, decimal, and percent probabilities and place them on a number line based on their theoretical probability. I thought it would be an interactive way to gauge student understanding. Instead it turned into a ten minute nightmare where I was asked no less than 52 times if their answers were “right”. I took it well until I was asked for the 53rd time and then I lost it. We stopped class right there and proceeded to have a ten minute discussion on who broke them."
posted by escabeche
on Jun 1, 2014 -
There are few professions more confusing, or misrepresented, than high school teaching. Education is a ubiquitous experience — public or private, we are all taught by someone, somewhere — and yet it remains misunderstood. I have now begun to write about teaching because I profoundly respect this vocation. I refuse to allow politicians to corner the rhetorical market on this subject. There are stories that need to be told.
I hesitate to call what follows "advice," though it might seem as such. There are so many varied experiences during a single teaching day that I am much more comfortable thinking in epigrammatic terms. I have a lot more to say about teaching, and certain reflections will need to wait. But, for now, here are 55 thoughts about teaching English.
Nick Ripatrazone, at The Millions
posted by davidjmcgee
on May 29, 2014 -
Pastplay: Teaching and Learning History with Technology.
The fourth book from the digitalculturebooks
imprint of the University of Michigan Press, Pastplay
includes a wide range of essays, all available online
for free. T. Mills Kelly reflects on his historical methods course which resulted in a historical hoax, “the last American pirate,” declared one of the 10 biggest hoaxes in Wikipedia’s first ten years. Matthew Kirschenbaum discusses if board games work better than computer games for teaching history. The book's chapters cover successful combinations of play, technology, and history. Yet, many are wary, as a "playful approach to teaching and learning with technology can seem like the worst of all possible worlds: the coupling of strategies developed for entertainment with tools created for commerce." [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi
on May 4, 2014 -
The Teaching of Arithmetic: The Story of an experiment. In the fall of 1929 I made up my mind to try the experiment of abandoning all formal instruction in arithmetic below the seventh grade and concentrating on teaching the children to read, to reason, and to recite - my new Three R's. And by reciting I did not mean giving back, verbatim, the words of the teacher or of the textbook. I meant speaking the English language. I picked out five rooms - three third grades, one combining the third and fourth grades, and one fifth grade. I asked the teachers if they would be willing to try the experiment.
posted by Wolfdog
on Mar 8, 2014 -
Look Who Nick Kristof’s Saving Now.
Political scientist Corey Robin
on today's public intellectuals, an "entire economy of unsung writers with PhDs," and what Nicholas Kristof doesn't understand when he writes academics have marginalizes themselves and "just don’t matter in today’s great debates." As Aaron Bady wrote, ”He only reads The New Yorker
, and then complains that everyone doesn’t write for The New Yorker
posted by spamandkimchi
on Feb 16, 2014 -
Sudbury Valley School
- "It upends your views about what school is for, why it has to cost as much as it does, and whether our current model makes any sense at all. But what's most amazing about the school, a claim the founders make which was backed up by my brief observations, my conversations with students, and the written recollections of alumni, is that the school has taken the angst out of education. Students like going there
, and they like their teachers. Because they are never made to take a class they don't like, they don't rue learning. They don't hate homework because they don't have homework. School causes no fights with their parents." (previously
) [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Jan 8, 2014 -
The Course of Their Lives.
While much in medicine has changed over the last century, the defining course of a first year medical student's education is still 'Gross Anatomy.' This is their hands-on tour of a donated cadaver -- an actual human body -- and is an experience which cannot be replicated by computer models. When Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Mark Johnson came up with the idea of following a med school gross anatomy class for a feature story, his editor challenged him to make it different. So he chose to intertwine the students' stories with that of Geraldine 'Nana' Fotsch, a living future donor, as sort of a stand-in for the cadaver. (Via
. This four-part series contains descriptions of a human dissection. Some may find it disturbing.
) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 19, 2013 -
Rob Meline always dreamed of being an astronaut. He became a teacher instead. But the beloved faculty member at Camas Prairie Elementary in Spanaway, Washington kept a family secret. When he fell victim to it in October 2012, he became the symbol of a flawed judicial system. What his students did next was out of this world.
posted by zarq
on Oct 4, 2013 -
"Finland long ago decided to professionalize its teaching force to the point where teaching is now viewed on a par with other highly respected, learned professions like medicine and law. Today, only the best and brightest can and do become teachers: Just one in every 10 applicants are accepted to teacher preparation programs, which culminate in both an undergraduate degree and subject-specific Master's degree."
Joel Klein argues that the US should follow Finland's lead and create, essentially, a bar exam for teachers
, which would serve to professionalize them in the eyes of society and raise their societal value.
posted by barnacles
on Jan 11, 2013 -
"Milgram and Bishop are opposed to reforms of mathematics teaching and support the continuation of a model in which students learn mathematics without engaging in realistic problems or discussing mathematical methods
. They are, of course, entitled to this opinion, and there has been an ongoing, spirited academic debate about mathematics learning for a number of years. But Milgram and Bishop have gone beyond the bounds of reasoned discourse in a campaign to systematically suppress empirical evidence that contradicts their stance. Academic disagreement is an inevitable consequence of academic freedom, and I welcome it. However, responsible disagreement and academic bullying are not the same thing. Milgram and Bishop have engaged in a range of tactics to discredit me and damage my work which I have now decided to make public." Jo Boaler
, professor of mathematics education at Stanford, accuses two mathematicians, one her colleague of Stanford, of unethical attempts to discredit her research
, which supports "active engagement" with mathematics (aka "reform math") over the more traditional "practicing procedures" approach. [more inside]
posted by escabeche
on Oct 18, 2012 -
The Flame Challenge:
The Center For Communicating Science asked scientists to answer the question, "What is a flame?," in a way that 11-year-olds would understand. Ben Ames won. In addition to his winning video
, you can see the runners-up.
posted by OmieWise
on Jun 8, 2012 -
The learning paradox
is at the heart of “productive failure." While the model adopted by many teachers and employers when introducing others to new knowledge — providing lots of structure and guidance early on, until the students or workers show that they can do it on their own — makes intuitive sense, it may not be the best way to promote learning. [more inside]
posted by unSane
on May 1, 2012 -
Man: A Course of Study
(MACOS) was a social sciences educational curriculum designed in the late 1960s. The course examined the commonalities between human behavior and that of several animal species, and culminated with a series of short films documenting the lives of the Netsilik Eskimo people. Although many school systems initially adopted MACOS
, it was largely abandoned
after a campaign of opposition from conservative Christians, who saw it as a Trojan horse for the indoctrination of secular humanism and cultural relativism in the public schools. The 2004 documentary Though These Eyes
looks at creation of MACOS and the controversy surrounding it.
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Sep 25, 2011 -
The Challenge of Teaching 9/11
"The events of September 11th are being discussed, taught, and commemorated in high school classrooms throughout the nation this week. And in many of those classrooms, the students are increasingly too young to have many actual memories of their own of that day’s events. I visited two high school classes in the San Francisco Bay Area to see how teachers are approaching the topic, what the students know and don’t know, and how they feel about the events surrounding that day."
‘Who’s Osama bin Laden?’: Teaching 9/11 to Muslim youth
"In the ten years since Sept. 11, many Muslim Americans feel they’ve had to deal with rising discrimination. Those who remember 9/11 at least understand how this started. But there’s a new generation of Muslim Americans who don’t. They were too young in 2001, or they weren’t yet born. But these children aren’t too young to perceive discrimination. At least one local Islamic school is still working through how, exactly, to teach its young students about 9/11."
posted by nooneyouknow
on Sep 9, 2011 -