I wonder if I know how to teach....

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by sdzbgdr, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. sdzbgdr

    sdzbgdr Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2007

    I am actually responding to TeacherShelly's Elementary Education post titled "I don't know how to teach ..."

    I think I know how to teach. I talk to a lot of other teachers and visit their classrooms. It seems that I do not teach like everyone else though. Maybe I do not know. I will enter my thoughts and see what kind of responses I get.
    I read many of the responses to TeacherShelly's post wondering how all the gaming methods would work for me at the high school level. I don't know how I would teach at the elementary level. I would probably be afraid that using high school techniques on the little ones would be abusive. We have math games in math and labs in science, but I do not let a few students make me think that I have to sacrifice a lot of time for a game for the whole class. My gaming time is limited to holidays.

    I don’t think gaming is the answer to the question. There are probably as many different ways to teach a concept as there are teachers. I guess I think it is best for the teacher to fully understand the concept (say fractions) and then teach the concept the way the teacher understands it. I suspect to many games might not always help the students learn better and may even spoil the students.

    As a high school teacher, I wonder what is wrong with replacing some of the gaming with putting more responsibility on the students - even at the elementary level. For those who are unsuccessful at the high school level and who question the grade they earned, rather than me taking the blame, I have one of two general responses: [Tactfully], either 1), you should have studied more, or 2) some can learn the material in one semester, but for you it will take two semesters. What’s wrong with that?

    I guess I should have confidence that I know how to teach. If I am to accept blame because I do not know how to teach, then all the students can argue that they should have been successful. Under such a system, I can neither set up guidelines for the course, nor adhere to standards.

    From the standpoint of state requirements, it is probably a very good idea to hand out a syllabus showing how to achieve the standards. It might list the topics, chapters, specific problems all dated. The syllabus might help students feel their responsibility in a way so they can accept it and start planning early on.

    When teaching a new topic, I think the teacher should be sure to get out and about checking student’s participation and work. Just walking around the room motivates some students to get busy. I check work while students are working so as to short-circuit the practicing of mistakes. Then during time-on-task, I have group work and have select students do problems on the board. It is difficult to fit all this stuff into an hour class if you try to teach too much at one time. It should all work out just right.

    One of the things I need to improve on is having more days where students may have a class meeting around the requirements of the class, discuss issues, make-up work, counsel with the teacher, graph their grades, etc.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 6, 2007

    I'm all about personal responsibility in my classroom. I don't ever accept responsibility for their choices. At the same time, I need to remember that I'm their teacher and that I need to help them learn. If they as a class aren't learning, then I've failed and I need to reevaluate my teaching practices.

    The problem with that you've said here is that I think you've missed something. At least where I teach, lots of students don't know how to study. For me to say something like, "Well, you just didn't study enough" is not constructive and doesn't solve the problem.

    In my urban school, the fact is that many students also hold jobs with demanding hours and responsibilities. I know that many students are on the bus by 5:30 AM, don't get home until well after dark, and then work until 10 or 11 PM. That makes for a long day with very little time to do homework and study. While it's nice to be able to say that students should devote more time to their school work, it's all theoretical and very impractical to me. Some of these kids have to work because they support their families. How can I tell them that their Latin is more important than paying the rent or having dinner or getting medicine for their little sister?

    I utilize a lot of games and activities in my classroom, although my students will tell you that I don't do as much as many of their other teachers. If letting kids race up to the board to conjugate a Latin verb gets them excited about Latin and teaches them to conjugate, what does it matter to me? I don't care whether they sit at their desk and do drills on paper or whether they have individual white board competitions. With that in mind, it certainly seems better to give them activities on which they'll thrive (and of course throw in a few old-fashioned ones to balance things out).
     
  4. Weazy

    Weazy Comrade

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    Jul 6, 2007

    I wonder if I know how to teach

    I too, have students who do not know how to study. I have a few who have jobs, but for the most part, they do not want to study or do homework. They believe that when they leave school, they leave behind the school work as well. This includes my college-prep students! Of course, not all of my students have the same work ethic, but many of them do. I have found that it is best to only assign homework that is absolutely necessary, but many times they need to do outside reading and be ready to discuss in class.

    As for games in class-- I do very little. I try to choose activities that my students will enjoy, but I stay away from games. It is my job to prepare them for the "real world" and most jobs do not focus on keeping employees entertained. I think the younger generation already has a "what's in it for me" attitude, as well as, it's your job to keep me entertained. As I mentioned, I TRY to choose activities that they will enjoy when appropriate for the lesson, and I don't disagree with the saying "learning can be fun", but I have a lot of material to cover in a short period of time. I have found that the kids enjoy making literary posters, acting out scenes from whatever we're reading, working in groups, or writing creative stories just as much as playing a game. All of these have worked great for my classrooms, 9th grade and up. If I use a game, it is only for a reiview before a quiz or test. I don't mean to sound so stiff, but we are held to very tough standards, and I have to pass that on to the students.
     
  5. bigcat

    bigcat Rookie

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    Jul 7, 2007

    Wow...I have really enjoyed reading this thread. I don't have anything to add at this point....I haven't had a full cup of coffee yet....oops. But just wanted to say that I have gotten alot out of this thread and look forward to reading more.
     

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