150 posts tagged with teaching.
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May I be excused?

"Using the Restroom: A Privilege—If You’re a Teacher" (SL Atlantic.com)
"Educators seldom have enough time to do their business. What’s that doing to the state of learning?" [more inside]
posted by CheesesOfBrazil on Jul 28, 2015 - 48 comments

The Curse of Knowledge

Why is good writing on technical subjects so hard to find? A popular explanation is that bureaucrats, scientists, doctors, and lawyers who write dense prose are intentionally obfuscating their writing to appear more intelligent than they are. After all, no one likes reading hashes of passive clauses salted with jargon and acronyms--not even fellow specialists. Stephen Pinker, however, has an alternate take on the issue. What if knowing a lot about a topic directly interferes with your ability to effectively communicate it?
posted by sciatrix on Jul 3, 2015 - 56 comments

The Archaeology of Teaching

Workers renovating Emerson High School in Oklahoma City recently discovered slate blackboards, still complete with chalked lessons and drawings, which had been covered up by the installation of new boards in early December, 1917. An additional photogallery (and autoplaying video) can be found here (slightly different versions of that page here and here).
posted by Rumple on Jun 10, 2015 - 26 comments

Extreme Makeover: Classroom Edition

I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me. Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones. Not, like, in a person-by-person sense, but students in general. The student-teacher dynamic has been reenvisioned along a line that's simultaneously consumerist and hyper-protective, giving each and every student the ability to claim Grievous Harm in nearly any circumstance, after any affront, and a teacher's formal ability to respond to these claims is limited at best.
posted by hank_14 on Jun 3, 2015 - 157 comments

"It is harder for us to be nice to kids"

When I look back over my notebooks and journals from the past 21 years there are plenty of things I regret. What I do not regret were the times we educators chose to be kind to a kid. The times when we gave a child a second–and then third and fourth chance. The times we decided to let a kid go on a field trip, ignoring some misdeed that might have excluded him from the trip so that a child who had never been further than the county line could see the world writ large. You know the drill.
"School should be a place for all sorts of kindnesses." Retiring school principal George Wood talks about what should be the most important part of school and why it has become difficult to achieve.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 1, 2015 - 59 comments

Let Me Heal: The Opportunity to Preserve Excellence in American Medicine

When I started my first year of residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1998, there were 20 percent more patient admissions per intern in my residency program than there had been just three years earlier. The sheer number and complexity of my patients was nearly overwhelming—and I was worried that at best, they were not getting the care they had a right to expect, and at worst, that they were not safe.

posted by ellieBOA on May 27, 2015 - 12 comments

Breaking Ranks with the Unexamined Silences of Their Parents

"To all these ends, the third- , fourth- , and fifth-graders at Lower were to be divided once a week for five weeks into small groups according to their race. In 45-minute sessions, children would talk about what it was like to be a member of that race; they would discuss what they had in common with each other and how they were different, how other people perceived them, rightly or wrongly, based on appearance. Disinhibited by the company of racially different peers, the children would, the school hoped, feel free to raise questions and make observations that in mixed company might be considered impolite. The bigger goal was to initiate a cultural upheaval, one that would finally give students of color a sense of equal owner­ship in the community. Once the smaller race groups had broken up, the children would gather in a mixed-race setting to share, and discuss, the insights they had gained."

The story of one private school's attempt to teach children about race and the reactions of the parents and children involved in the pilot year.
posted by Eyebrows McGee on May 20, 2015 - 26 comments

"It’s a class I teach once a year; it fills within 24 hours"

Would you put oregano on your posole?
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 6, 2015 - 16 comments

Opting out.

An estimated "40 percent of all Long Island [grade] 3-8 students refused to take last week’s ELA Common Core state tests. Numbers in some districts reached well over 70 percent, with at least one district exceeding 80 percent....It seems clear that the final 2015 tally will well exceed 200,000 students. New York State will likely not make the minimum 95 percent federal requirement for testing.... What will happen to New York schools then? " [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 19, 2015 - 131 comments

“You missed a good game.”

Confessions of a Drug Addicted High School Teacher
posted by oceanjesse on Apr 10, 2015 - 124 comments

Let's Speak English

Let's Speak English! Cartoonist Mary Cagle's adorable tales of teaching English in Japan.
posted by overeducated_alligator on Apr 8, 2015 - 49 comments

Defending Darwin

I’m occasionally told my life would be easier if I backed off from my relentless efforts to advance evolution education. Maybe so. But to shy away from emphasizing evolutionary biology is to fail as a biology teacher. I continue to teach biology as I do, because biology makes sense only in the light of evolution.
posted by ellieBOA on Apr 7, 2015 - 63 comments

I was stumped. So of course, I asked Facebook.

"Let's talk about matter/anti-matter annihilation in the early Universe."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Mar 29, 2015 - 35 comments

"No one cares about your problems if you're a shitty writer"

Advice from a former writing teacher.
posted by anothermug on Mar 12, 2015 - 78 comments

Can time heal these wounds?

In 2001, Josh Kaplowitz was a recent Yale graduate and Teach for America worker in a Washington D.C. public school. After pushing 7 year old Raynard Ware--something still he still disputes--Kaplowitz was arrested and then the subject of a $20M lawsuit. Eleven years later, Kaplowitz, by this point a lawyer, received a friend request on facebook from Ware: the Washington Post Magazine has the story of their reconnection. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 31, 2015 - 90 comments

Students applauded and were visibly moved in the game's final moments

The best learning games are always fun. Try playing them yourself and see if you enjoy them. No matter how advanced your understanding of the subject matter, a good game should still be fun. I've understood algebra and number partitions for decades, but DragonBox and Wuzzit Trouble are still challenging puzzlers that I like to fiddle with on long airline flights. All good games offer challenges in intuitive ways. In fact, this is the reason games work so well for learning: Players are intrinsically motivated to identify and succeed at understanding the game's mechanics.
The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning provides a basic introduction to the use of video games in education, gives several thought-provoking examples, and points to numerous sites with related goals, including Edutopia's articles on game-based learning and Graphite's reviews of digital games with educational content. Meanwhile, this being what The Guardian has just called "Board games' golden age," resources such as Play Play Learn, BoardGameGeek's Games in the Classroom, and The Dice Tower's recent countdown of "Top Ten Games for the Classroom" offer interesting options for the tabletop as well. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Nov 25, 2014 - 5 comments

The ideology of musical notation

"[P]eople who read staff notation ... were middle-class; and those who used alternative notation systems, such as the Tonic Sol-fa method, which was widely used for choral singing in the nineteenth century ... were predominantly working-class." Sociologist Anna Bull on how classical music, and the way it is taught, reproduces class inequality.
posted by dontjumplarry on Nov 16, 2014 - 111 comments

About THAT Kid

"Every day, your child comes home with a story about THAT kid. The one who is always hitting shoving pinching scratching maybe even biting other children. The one who always has to hold my hand in the hallway. The one who has a special spot at the carpet, and sometimes sits on a chair rather than the floor. The one who had to leave the block centre because blocks are not for throwing. The one who climbed over the playground fence right exactly as I was telling her to stop. The one who poured his neighbour’s milk onto the floor in a fit of anger. On purpose. While I was watching. And then, when I asked him to clean it up, emptied the ENTIRE paper towel dispenser. On purpose. While I was watching. The one who dropped the REAL ACTUAL F-word in gym class."
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 15, 2014 - 113 comments

Research methods: the heart and soul of knowledge

Hollaback and Why Everyone Needs Better Research Methods (And Why All Data Needs Theory), by Zeynep Tufekci:
I’ve taught "introduction to research methods" to undergraduate students for many years, and they would sometimes ask me why they should care about all this "method stuff", besides having a required class for a sociology major out of the way. I would always tell them, without understanding research methods, you cannot understand how to judge what you see.

The Hollaback video shows us exactly why.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 5, 2014 - 23 comments

I also check my skeletons twice. You can never be too careful.

I waited silently for her to explain that the female pelvis is shaped slightly differently from the male’s, with a larger opening for childbearing. That part was the giveaway. The real purpose of the exercise was to make her prove her conjecture with measurements--to translate the theory to practice. I also wanted her to explain why this sexual dimorphism--that is, this sexually determined physical difference--is not nearly so pronounced in nonhuman primates, such as chimpanzees.

She spoke: Males have one fewer pair of ribs than females.
When teacher Robert S. Root-Bernstein got this answer to his question on how you should distinguish between male and female skeletons, he had to find a way to make her realise her error without disparaging her religion.
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 20, 2014 - 271 comments

The Teacher Wars

A new book by journalist Dana Goldstein profiles the deeply controversial history of the teaching profession in the US. A write up in the New York Times and the New Inquiry.
posted by latkes on Sep 16, 2014 - 23 comments

No emails -- unless you’re scheduling an in-person meeting.

I don't always ignore your emails, but when I do, it's because the answer is on your syllabus. "In my effort to teach students appropriate use of emails, my syllabus policies [had] ballooned to cover every conceivable scenario -- when to email, when not to, how to write the subject line -- and still I spent class time discussing the email policies and logged hours upon hours answering emails that defied the policies. In a fit of self-preservation, I decided: no more." [more inside]
posted by scody on Aug 28, 2014 - 71 comments

This explains so much academic writing

"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 - 26 comments

"We're inspired and inspiring teachers. Schools don't let us teach!"

Originally published in 1962 as a short story in the Saturday Review, under the title "From a Teacher’s Wastebasket", Up the Down Staircase stands as the seminal novel of the American public school system. Its author, Bel Kaufman, died this week at age 103. Turned into a movie in 1967, the book and its author have an impact on teachers decades on.
posted by wheek wheek wheek on Jul 27, 2014 - 15 comments

Who or what broke my kids?

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 - 107 comments

55. For some students, you are their only light.

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 (previously).
posted by davidjmcgee on May 29, 2014 - 27 comments

playful technologies can help students understand how history is created

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 - 17 comments

Protein Packing

Harvard University and XVIVO have come together again (Previouslyw/ a commercial focus, Previouslierw/an Academic focus) to add to the growing series of scientific animations for BioVisions -- Harvard's multimedia lab in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. 'Protein Packing' strives to more accurately depict the molecular chaos in each and every cell, with proteins jittering around in what may seem like random motion. Proteins occupy roughly 40% of the cytoplasm, creating an environment that risks unintentional interaction and aggregation. Via diffusion and motor protein transport, these molecules are directed to sites where they are needed.
Much of this is no doubt inspired by the beautiful art and explained illustrations of David Goodsell, a biologist at Scripps who has been accurately portraying the crowdedness of the cellular landscape for a long time now.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 10, 2014 - 9 comments

A message for the Secretary of State for Education

"Dear Mr Gove" - a poem by Jess Green.
posted by EndsOfInvention on Apr 4, 2014 - 16 comments

The one that is the smaller is the larger

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 - 18 comments

There is much to be learned from Reggie Watts.

Reggie Watts teaches science. Reggie Watts teaches literature.
posted by Shepherd on Feb 27, 2014 - 10 comments

Publish or perish

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 - 51 comments

The art of possibility

Benjamin Zander: "How to give an A"
posted by panaceanot on Feb 7, 2014 - 12 comments

post-industrial education for post-industrial organizations

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-er) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 8, 2014 - 63 comments

...only one soul in the river Styx...

Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss posted some quotes on her blog to answer the question: "How Hard is Teaching?" She then received another response, from a veteran seventh-grade language arts teacher in Frederick, Maryland: "I would love to teach but..."
posted by zarq on Jan 6, 2014 - 28 comments

You Suck, Sir

"My students are funny. Sometimes, it's intentional."
posted by holmesian on Oct 24, 2013 - 100 comments

"This is my gift to you. Do with it what you want."

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 - 29 comments

Unfulfilled dreams have a way of playing tricks on you....

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 - 43 comments

The Common Core

The Common Core (Wikipedia) is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt (that is, if they want to keep their funding). In the weeks and months leading up to implementation of the Common Core, some teachers are a little wary. Teachers and community organizers are now left to translate Common Core standards for confused parents, with some myths, rumors, and miscommunications getting in the way. Now, after months of preparing for the shift, some states are dropping out of the Common Core. But why?
posted by SkylitDrawl on Sep 22, 2013 - 44 comments

The English teachers of America must read these pages

'Robert Frost', a poem by George Bilgere [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 9, 2013 - 15 comments

40 years, one outfit

PE teacher Dale Irby wore a polyester shirt and coffee-colored sweater for school picture day in 1973. And for every picture day since then until his retirement this year.
posted by rewil on Jul 2, 2013 - 57 comments

Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts

Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts: From 1958-1973, composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein (Previously on MeFi) played live, educational concerts with the New York Philharmonic that were televised nationwide on CBS. Tapes of the broadcasts were eventually syndicated to 40 countries, introducing an entire generation of children to a wide range musical concepts, styles and composers. The first concert to air was "What Does Music Mean." [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 16, 2013 - 5 comments

Nothing so condescending as kindness.

Call it many names, but not kindness. Nothing so condescending as kindness.

An educator on why "patience" and "kindness" miss much of what is going on in the classroom.
posted by klausman on May 10, 2013 - 14 comments

Joining the Ranks: Demystifying Harvard's Tenure System

'“The ad hoc process is greatly shrouded in mystery; remarkably little is written about it,” says current Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development Judith D. Singer. She smirks wryly as she swigs coffee from her mug, as if this is something she’s explained a hundred times before. “What the ad hoc process does is it takes a recommendation that has come up out of a department, been through a dean, and says, ‘Let’s look at this with a fresh set of eyes. Let’s look at the totality of the evidence and make a dispassionate decision about whether the recommendations that have come up are really in the best interest of the University,’” says Singer.'
posted by un petit cadeau on Apr 15, 2013 - 26 comments

Your dog did not eat your homework

CourseSmart software enables professors and teachers to track how much of the assigned reading students have completed.
posted by reenum on Apr 11, 2013 - 80 comments

MOOCs of Hazard

Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well... [more inside]
posted by latkes on Apr 3, 2013 - 39 comments

Twelve Mintue Chunks Of White Hot Knowledge!

John And Hank Green (previously), amusing youtube teachers of world history and biology have finished the first cycle of their educational series Crash Course (previously) and have wrapped up mini lessons on Literature and Ecology. Now they've just started two brand new series on U.S History and Chemistry (to come). Outtakes.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 6, 2013 - 19 comments

CIL-CCDB

A curated repository of cellular microscopy data [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 19, 2013 - 2 comments

Well, it's eliminated all the woes of the law profession ... right?

"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 - 82 comments

"If you account for my access to academic journal subscriptions, my salary is really like half a million dollars."

This past Thursday, Forbes Magazine published a pair of articles: The Most Stressful Jobs of 2013 and The Least Stressful Jobs of 2013, the latter of which began with the sentence: "University professors have a lot less stress than most of us." 300+ outraged comments (and thousands of sarcastic #RealForbesProfessor tweets,) later they've added a retraction, and linked to a blog post that takes A Real Look at Being a Professor in the US. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 5, 2013 - 68 comments

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