Hard to go back

Just read this over at Dangerously Irrelevant:

For a kid who spent a year with a teacher that valued collaborative hands-on, inquiry-based, and problem-based learning, it’s tough to go back the next year to a teacher that has more of a lecture-based, isolated-seatwork-oriented approach.

But why can’t all teachers teach what I called project-based learning where the students do the hard work? I do feel bad for the students who have to go back to the other way of learning. It’s time to move the sage off the stage and let the teacher be the guide on the side.

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6 responses to “Hard to go back

  1. I used to be a teacher. I was supposed to know more than any of my students. And most of them didn’t know much. Some more eager to learn. Others were eager to get out of school to smoke pot, screw the girl next door or get to work at the bowling alley. Not many wanted to hang around and ask any questions and those who did ended up doing the same work I did and now they are heads of art departments or directors of design. My son is one of those.

    The problem with education today or when I left in 1976 was there are way too many supervisors and non-educating educators on the payroll waiting to retire. I think teachers should not have tenure. If the student doesn’t learn then there is something wrong and the fault can only be in three places. The teacher. The material (books, etc). The student.

    • Dear Mr Lincoln
      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. Hope you can come back again. It’s always nice to hear from those who have been in the classroom and experienced teaching young people.

  2. Oh yae! Another teacher! I love it! We’ve been talking about kids learning hands-on forever. It seems over a decade ago that they started telling us to try and have students work and learn collaboratively. It’s a complete changing of teaching style for some that’s difficult to do. It’s too easy to lecture even though it’s boring for students.
    I appreciate your comment today, but I’m still thinking if Obama said that, he meant it in another context. I guess I just won’t believe that he would ever advocate or condone any use of violence.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out my piece of the world. Hope you come by often and share from your history in the classroom.

  3. Well, I think something is being left out of this equation. That is the testing environment in which we teach today. As a teacher in a low-performing middle school, I have to say that many factors impede students learning today, and it isn’t all about how we want to or don’t want to teach. I was always a very hands-on sort of teacher until the advent of No Child Left Behind and the always-looming standardized tests. We have 750 kids in our school, nearly 90% on Free and Reduced lunch. Approximately 25% of them have IEPs and another 25% or more are English learners. Our students come to us trained in worksheetology, and want nothing to do with anything creative. I have to twist their arms to get them to create anything relative to what we are reading or learning.

    In our district, we have all been taught to do “teacher-directed” teaching, and have a very ambitious pacing chart which we are expected to follow. Every month we are visited by an county office of education person whose job it is to make sure we are doing the teacher directed work they expect us to do. Our objective for the day must be written on the board and we are expected to be meeting it. Very organized way to teach, yes. However, it leaves little space for any flexibility. As you undoubtedly know, when you are using both sides of the brain it is difficult to predict how long your lesson will take the students to complete. Unacceptable in this environment. I still do these activities every chance I get, and I am always behind the pace. And I don’t do them on visitation days.

    Things have changed, at least in a language arts class. And it’s not all the teacher’s fault, the curriculum’s fault or even the fault of the student. There are other forces at play here which are evidently easy to overlook if you’re not in there doing battle with them every day.

    Sorry for the rant, but I am so exhausted at the end of every day, and to hear that our school system’s problems are probably my and my hard-working colleagues lack of willingness to teach well just send me off the edge!

    • Lynn, I am so sorry you thought this post was blaming teachers for the problems in education. Far from it. This insidious testing mania that has overtaken the land has taken us so far away from what good teaching should be. Good teachers know that standing up and lecturing and then giving paper/pencil tests is not conducive to learning. It only promotes what I call “bulimic learning.” Memorize it for the test and then forget it after expelling it all.

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