How much do you know about your subjects?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by tabasco4sale, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Aug 7, 2008

    Last year I was definitely relearning as I went along. I understood what I was teaching, but I learned so much from my kids. I teach math, and some kids think it is a foreign language. So I think the important thing is that I saw math from their point of view, which will help me out in the long run.
     
  2. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Aug 7, 2008

    I was blessed to have a teacher for a mother and a history fanatic as a father, so we were always learning growing up. Our family vacations in the summer were two week road trips out west to national parks, or touring civil war battle grounds. I think I have a really firm grasp of a lot of things because of that. My husband and I are very political, and always have CNN on in the background, so I'm very up on current events. I would hope that I know enough to teach third grade math and spelling. So I feel pretty good about what I teach. But then you run across subjects that you KNOW, you just don't know how to present to the kids. Like communities. Ok, I get communities. I've lived in them all my life. I feel in my heart what is important about communities. But how do I present that in an orderly fashion to the kids? That's where the work comes in for me. So whereas others might be researching what the actual causes of the Revolutionary War were, I know that-I'm working on the best way to present it to the kids.
     
  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm terrible at math or so I thought. I recently took my math methods class and suddenly feel in love with how the teacher was teaching us to teach it. Basically she presented it like a global picture and we are to teach our students skills (especially problem solving) and present authentic scenarios (when possible). I always focused on what I couldn't do and that prevented me from seeing how much math I use everyday, how much I teach my children on a regular basis and how much I liked math when presented from this view instead of isolated facts.

    Granted I need to know MORE, but first I needed to LIKE it. I need the confidence. I need to see the larger picture outside my one lesson.

    Recently I've figured out that if my teacher didn't PUSH me to take Math workshops, her favorite and obviously not mine, then I would always be taking the ones in subjects where my strengths show (L.A.). It's interesting that she pushes me to take these knowing these are my weakness but I don't see her taking many of the L.A. (her weakness). Hehe...I'll point it out eventually.
     
  4. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Aug 7, 2008

    Now, can you imagine how difficult it sometimes gets for this homeschool mom?? I don't have the training or background you all do, and I've got to get used to a new grade each year. I'm extra sunk when the lesson plans aren't that good. It has helped a lot hearing that you all have some of the same concerns I have.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Becky, on the other hand you know your student extra well and you have more freedom for more incidental life moments than we do.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 8, 2008

    (insert here TG doing happy dance)
     
  7. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Aug 8, 2008

    So that's why when I was growing up I was never taught that the nose is pointing to the smaller number! I've always, and still do, have a difficult time remembering which is greater than or lesser than. When I put it on my math word wall, I also put something like, mouth points to the larger number, then the symbol and lesser then or greater then.

    I think it's important that we also teach the correct vocabulary. It's not take away, it's subtraction. In order to do that, then we need to know our subjects!
     
  8. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I think that a lot of us love learning, so if we don't know enough about something, we study it and learn about it. Leastways most teachers who would bother to be involved in a discussion board like this one. We're interested in what we do for a living and want to improve. Unfortunately, there are some idiot teachers out there who could care less...and a few that are just plain ignorant and power driven... a lethal combination.

    I really wasn't very knowledgeable about weather, for example, before it became a Science topic a few years ago when I taught fourth grade. I made sure I understood what I needed to teach so that I could explain it in my own words as well as the words of the book or video or whatever.

    That said, "difficult" questions from a group of bright inquisitive kids don't throw me at all. I just say, "I don't know. That's interesting. I'm going to find out more about it. See if you can research it too. We'll get back to that one tomorrow." That sparks that idea of learning being a lifelong process.

    But to answer your question specifically, I do think you have to know the topic enough to explain it in a variety of ways.
     
  9. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Aug 9, 2008

    But the vocabulary changes!
    In Jeannie's math book you do not 'borrow' you 'regroup'. I'm forever using the word 'borrow'!
     
  10. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Aug 9, 2008

    Becky,

    I use both words, as I have a tendency to say "borrow" too. My kids correct me on that one.

    My point is, even if the vocabulary changes (and we need to change with it) that we need to use the correct vocab. It's something that when the kids at my school take standardized tests have a hard time with!
     

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