Why I am Hopeful Part One: Response to Chris Lehman: Education is broken

Disclaimer: My response to this talk, is going to take a couple posts. I have to be honest, I chose to to listen to Chris Lehman’s talk, Education is broken, because he was speaking in the best city on the East coast, Philadelphia:). That is the reason I chose to listen. Then I realized that he was a high school teacher and I started to wonder what an elementary educator was really going to learn from him. 

What I learned and made connections with, is going to take two posts. This talk reminded me of why I changed the title of my blog from “Quigley’s Squigles” to Hopeful Teacher. I know I am hopeful to get a job, I know I am hopeful to not become bitter and tired in my profession, and I knew there was another component. I didn’t know how to describe the hope that I felt for my students and my profession until today. 

Can you imagine going back to high school? If you were like me, your reaction would be some sort of a “Ha! Wouldn’t go back for all the cheesesteaks in Philly”. Chris Lehman starts his talk with why “High School Stinks” (Lehman). Recent Pre- Educators, we have all heard this time and time again… we sit in 5 or 6, 42 minute classes a day and get told what to do. Then,( something that made me laugh out loud), we are given pre-tests to see what stuff we “suck” at….so that we can get more of that stuff so that we don’t “suck” so much. (Lehman)

Pre- Educators, what do you think about your work samples now?:) What do you think about this quote?  I do see the value in pre- assessment, but maybe that can be different then pre-tests? How can we pre-assess our students without the tests and quizzes?  We have all done different activites to pre-assess our students.

When I got to student teach, I was troubled that there were so many worksheets for primary grades. So many. I struggled with giving them different ideas on how to do things, and mainly how to organize the students on how to do them, but I found so many different activities( in the textbooks that the teachers hated so much) that were never used because of the time it took to prepare. So my question for the educators and pre-educators out there…. what is a good pre-assessment activity that you love? Please share!!

 

 

Lehman, C.(February 2011). TedxPhilly-Chris Lehman: Education is Broken, Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS2IPfWZQM4

TED Talks: Ken Robinson: How to escape education’s death valley

While adding humor and positive remarks,Ken Robinson delivers a talk that is seriously needed for our culture to hear.  He discusses the underlying issue of standardized testing in our culture. Standardized tests have a place in education, tests are meant to be a support to education, they are not supposed to “dominate it” (Robinson). Although he spoke on a subject that can make educators’ blood boil. He did so in a uplifting, humorous and encouraging way. He offered three ideas to help our education system get back on track. One was to understand that human beings are naturally different and diverse;Two, curiousity; if a teacher could spark curiosity, then the students will practically learn on their own(Robinson). If I may add, how wonderful it is this day and age to be able to hand a child a tablet or a laptop to find answers, and more questions to their curiousity! (They will be doing research, but shhh! Don’t tell them they are learning!) Finally, the third point is that human life is inherantly creative. We all create our own lives, which is what makes us so interesting and diverse(Robinson). He offers a metaphor to educational system as Death Valley. There are seeds just below the surface, if the right condition are created, flowers will grow.(Robinson). He compared the word teaching to word dieting. Is it really dieting if you are not losing weight? In the same respect, are you really teaching if the students are not learning? This is a challanging talk, because we as educators have bosses and supervisors to report to, and we have a curriculum and standards to meet. How do we create a movement in education that makes it less dominated by exams and more individualized? 

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References

Robinson,K. April 2013. Ken Robinson: How to escape education’s death valley; (Video File) Retrieved from: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley.html

Image: http://wikitravel.org/upload/en/thumb/f/f9/Racetrack_playa.jpg/300px-Racetrack_playa.jpg

“Is this thing on?”

I know plenty of students, including myself, who get nervous when speaking in front of large groups. I know students and teachers, for that matter, can either freeze up, speak real quietly, or too fast and sometimes even shake because of the anxiety.  I think using Podcast and flipped classrooms are a great way to remedy that anxiety.  Second, it gives students and teachers a wonderful way to listen to themselves talk. I know typically no one likes the sound of their voice, but with podcasting, if you are realizing that you are going real fast, saying like, like every other word:) or just not being clear, you can take that learning opportunity to become a better public speaker. Also, podcasting, is just plain creative and engaging. How wonderful it is to take images, books,powerpoints, videos or  one’s own design to enhance and create a presentation which turns into a learning tool for everyone. I would definitely use podcasting in my classroom. However I would want to create a good balance. Relying solely on podcasts and flipped classrooms may be necessary for some. I am not saying all, but I do believe most people learn more from face to face interaction and direct communication. I may just be speaking from my own teaching and learning style, but I need face to face interaction. I am taking four online classes right now, out of necessity, and this experience is showing me that I personally learn much more when I can interact with a class and a teacher. Yet I am very thankful that we have flipped classrooms and opportunities such as online classes. I can spend more time with my family because of them!

What are you so Grumpy About? by Tom Lichtenheld

What Are You So Grumpy About? from Meghan Posey on Vimeo.

My friends from graduate school has so much fun making this video!

A learning moment for me….

We have all talked about integration and planned for it in lesson plans. For me, I am having the interesting experience of integration as a student. I am currently taking Statistics at the Local Community College. Let me tell you, even after a wonderful Math class like Dr. Rajdev’s at Marymount, math skills are still not second nature to me. Which is a nice way of saying that I struggle with Statistics. However when Dr. Fulda goes over statistical concepts and how they relate to our research class, my prior knowledge is activated and I am having an easier time understanding my statistics class. Let me tell you, research and statistics, are not on my list of the most interesting classes I have ever taken ( I am being very nice). However I am now more interested in both because I am learning about how it relates. This is giving me an example of how integration is a great instructional method .It has the potential of making more inherently boring subjects for students, more interesting and applicable.

Mind Map

Mind Map

This is a working document of my Technology Integrated unit plan.

Response to “Nuts and Bolts of the 21st Century”

This article made me think of something my cousin (an educator) once said to me, “Yeah you don’t remember this stuff from when you were in school, but once you have to teach it, you learn so much more.” I blindly agreed with her. Then when I read this blog and thought about my favorite lesson plans and activities… They were all student led and cooperative learning activities. I loved what Shelley Wright wrote in the beginning of her blog about the mental state of her students, “Instead, by grade 10, my students have learned that if they wait long enough, they will be rescued.” Wow! That really hit me. All of those times as a teacher or a small group leader at church I would pose a question and sit in silence waiting for students to respond. They knew eventually I would start talking again to fill the silence, or the talked in our group would take over. They did not HAVE to participate.

Ms. Wright’s blog really helped me feel okay about my insecurities as a teacher using cooparative learning and technology in the classroom.  I loved the way Ms. Wright described how she felt like she wanted to help, “If I do it for them, they won’t develop the skill. It’s difficult to know how much to let them flail. I find my role, at this point, is to facilitate conversations they don’t know how to have. As I often do in this scenario, I turned to my personal learning network. I blogged about it.” This was so helpful to read. It made me feel like I am not the only educator who has felt this way.  Also she emphasized the importance and helpfulness of social networking. She also calmed one of my fears about using Google docs. She did confirm that it too her students a day to get used to, play with and not get much work done. However they did get there. This was a very encouraging blog to read. I would love to see lesson plans on how to guide your students through these projects. In the elementary setting, I know I would have 4 or 5 students come up to me after 30 minutes, and say “we’re done.” How do you help them pace and can tell they are really done?

 

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