Do you "stay on top" of your discipline or content area?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Doug_HSTeach_07, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    With information seemingly exploding in size, do you try to stay on top of everything? Or do you teach content that seems to be unaffected by recent research or trends?
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    To be an effective teacher, you have to stay up on trends in education. That's not to say that you have to jump on every bandwagon that comes along, nor do you have to give up tried and true practices . . . but you have to know what's out there and be willing to try new things.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm in a district that values professional development- we stay abreast of current research, tend to be on the 'cutting edge', and push each other...that's not to say we jump at every new thing that comes around the corner...We have a sound, shared educational philosophy, engage in dialog around the work we do, engage in study groups on professional literature and then weigh any new ideas against what we know works for our kids. :thumb:
     
  5. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I don't think Doug is asking about "how to teach" but rather "what to teach." In other words, how many science teachers keep up with recent developments in the field of science or history teachers keeping up with modern reinterpretations of historical events. He wasn't asking about trends in education or things normally taught at district inservices.

    So to answer that question, the content that I teach doesn't change. Five tens still make 50. There are still six ways to spell the long e sound. When ice melts, it turns to water. But if they ever change the number of stars on the flag or re-write the national anthem, then I've got some reading to catch up on.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Since I won't be satisfied till the word "doctor" is in front of my name, I still read mathematics journals to stay current, or at least as current as I can.
     
  7. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Yes, that's exactly what I meant. Thank you. I learned a lot of history and social sciences in college, but there is so much changing every day and lots of "golden nugget" little-known historical facts
    that I have yet to discover. It gives me something to strive for!

    I just feel sometimes that the more I know, the more I realize I don't know.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    It's crucial that no teacher get complacent about the content, no matter what level that teacher is teaching.
     
  9. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I read a lot of newspapers (print and online) to keep current on science events also to get ideas for instruction. You can actually subscribe to news services that will send links to your phone when a related story appears.
     
  10. tchrsher

    tchrsher New Member

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    I do lots of research. Even when I am teaching the same basic content from previous years I always spend time looking for new research and up-to-date information. It adds spice to my life so I can add spice to the classroom. I would die of boredom otherwise. I always think if I'm bored they are sure to be and vice versa.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My state revamps required curriculum on a yearly basis (different content area each year)...My district is part of an area consortium in which several districts share professional development resources and write curriculum for the consortium districts- so the state guides us in what we are required to teach, the consortium translates the state requirements into district guides and within each district we decide how to teach it...and in my district that is strongly influenced by our philosophy and climate described in my earlier post. :thumb:
     
  12. HMM

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    I'm not being arrogant here but ... For a lot of disciplines most HS teachers were never up on current research.

    While it is possible to read the majority of education research, provided you have some understanding of basic statistics, many disciplines are not really within reach of someone with just a bachelors degree (or in some cases a masters)
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :wow:

    Some of us have access to or seek out excellent professional development in which current research, educational trends and changes are examined and discussed among professionals...One need not be a professor to read, understand, digest and discuss what is the 'current thinking' in education and to be able to make sound decisions on how to apply that in our classrooms...whether those classrooms be in colleges, high schools or elementary schools... :2cents::soapbox:
     
  14. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    I do try to stay on top of science current events, and I do some work with a local hopital/medical research facility in town (helping researchers communicate about their research to the public). I use the my professional organizations to help me stay on top of what is going on in education. In regards to technology education, I have a few blogs that help me stay on top of that area as well.
     
  15. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    How many HS teachers do you know that are up on any of the research in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, ...
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm not a HS teacher- I teach grade 2 with PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS who take their own development as teachers very seriously...I'd hope that all teachers did the same regardless of grade level or content area taught...As far as HS teachers- well, my two sons graduated from HS in 2004 and 2008- the 2004 grad went on to a great university where he graduated with a double major in finance and accounting and is now gainfully employed...must have learned something valuable and current, don't you think? Both sons had the same science teacher for several classes-she not only teaches HS, but runs seminars for other teachers statewide, travels to the rainforest each year on research grants, continually learns and inspires others to learn...I can't speak about every teacher in that HS- I can tell you my kids received excellent educations, were exposed to great ideas taught by experienced professionals and most importantly learned to think critically...
    I would hope these examples are the norm and not the exception- it's what all children deserve.
     
  17. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Unfortunately, they seem to be the exception in many areas of the country. Forget about keeping current, lets just try to get "in-field" teachers for all those subjects.


    I wish to point out that there seems to be two different discussions going on. There's a huge difference between content area research and educational research. It seems HMM is talking about the former and everybody else is gravitating to the latter. The OP also meant the content area. I could walk into the high school down the street and start asking around and the vast majority of the teachers would probably be current on educational research, but couldn't tell me a darn thing about the research being conducted at either of the research universitites in my city. That's not nesacarily a bad thing either. The basic sciences we teach our high schoolers doesn't change very much, and anything major gets splashed across the newspages. High school math topics don't change at all, from a content area prespective. What DOES change is teaching methodology. In primary, and to a great extent, secondary school, I think staying current on ed research is more important.

    HMM is also right about the ability to follow research. I have a master's degree in mathematics and I frequently have trouble following articles. I find myself digging out textbooks and calling friends in order to understand what they're saying. If I didn't have the goal of a Ph.D, I probably wouldn't put as much effort into it.
     
  18. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    You don't have to be given the current research to get a good education at the HS or undergraduate level.

    I think you are taking what I said personally and it wasn't an insult. I am most definitely not saying that HS teachers are dumb or uneducated, but it is a fact that the vast majority did not see the most current research in their chosen field (because they lacked the background knowledge to understand it...I'm not to say that they could never understand, but they would need more schooling).
     
  19. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    Exactly...thanks :thumb:
     
  20. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Welllll, I try to keep up with what is going on in the education world. I read about a lot of stuff here and do further research on what interests me. I am always willing to try something new as long as I am passionate about it (or required to do it). I've tried to stop jumping on every educational bandwagon that comes through. I think it's hard to avoid being affected by research and trends. There is always going to be something new (or something old that has been recycled and presented as new) that a school is going to want their teachers to do. It's the nature of the beast.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    But I don't think that most of the professional development courses for elementary school teachers have to do with content - I think most are firmly focused on How To Teach. And, as a professor of mine (no, not a professor of education) once explained, "Research is to teaching as sin is to confession. If you don't do the one, you don't have much to talk about in the other."
     
  22. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    All of the school-provided professional development is on the "mechanics", not the subject itself.

    All of my graduate work has been in my subject area, NOT in the field of education. I'm in writing & literature . . . so not a lot changes, really.
     
  23. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I am taking this from a History teachers perspective, though I do plan on taking some math courses once I finish my PhD in History. In History the research, as said before is new discoveries of archeological material which I do keep on top of. (Like the discovery of a pre-human they found a few years ago). However, most other research is just modern perspectives on old events, there are hundreds of perspectives on the past (take JFKs assasination for instance), how do we know what perception to teach? The one we were taught? The Civil War is full of these perceptions (the threat of British intervention is highly debatable). I like to know these perceptions, and I enjoy telling students them, but the perception they choose to believe is solely up to them, I do think it is part of my job to keeep them informed.
     
  24. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm not taking it personally at all...I know I know my stuff!:thumb:
     
  25. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Remarkably many people who majored in any given subject forget the tools, approaches, reasoning, and even facts of the field if they don't make a concerted effort to keep up. I see this with great regularity, and it's not too big a stretch to argue that one of the undersung but very important roles of tests for prospective teachers is as a reason to become reacquainted with the content.
     
  26. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    And I completely agree, TeacherGroupie! I quickly found out that there is a lot of history out there that I've never discovered, and that hurt my pride at first because I thought I knew a lot of stuff. Then I went to amazon.com, and that's where I really met my challenge, because once you purchase something on that blasted site it gives you recommendations for books you will like (and undoubtedly purchase)!

    For example, I read a book on the history of Las Vegas for history class. Then a book on the failure of the UN for geography. Then I purchased a college sociology text and have been reading it, because ours is old and out of date at the school. This Christmas break I've been watching historical movies, documentaries and the like, taping History Channel stuff when I can for my class and just trying to stay on top of things.

    I don't mean to list this research to give myself a pat on the back, but rather to reiterate the fact that research takes time! With new technology and research always available, how can one possibly expect a teacher to take it all in? I probably will never know it all, but that's no reason for me to be lax and just teach what I already know. I like to see things in the paradigm of "If you're not moving forward, you're falling behind."

    I realize I'll probably sound ultra-cocky and conceited, but I assure you that was not the intent and nature of my post. I just want to give myself and my students the best chance to succeed, and staying fresh and teaching new things is something that keeps me energized and pumps me up even more to teach.
     
  27. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    From which institution are you receiving your doctorate in history?
     
  28. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Boston College.
     
  29. newbie1234

    newbie1234 Companion

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    I constantly keep up with research and current events that pertain to my content area. I also plan on attending a couple of conferences this summer. I teach stuff that I love, so reading about it isn't a chore.
     
  30. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    About sounds like me...except for the Red Sox part. Ugh! Hey, have fun pitching to Murderer's Row next year. :D
     
  31. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    That's cool, I am applying for graduate studies at Western Illinois University this week. I hope I make it, because they have loads of fascinating classes that I could really benefit from.
     
  32. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    I would love to be on your campus. My P is an adequate leader but there's not many teachers who engage in professional literature. I love it and read all I can about best practices.
     

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