There is an overwhelming amount of info to teach

Discussion in 'General Education' started by webmistress, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    So how do you learn all of that stuff well enough to teach it? Do you study the details and information while you're making your lesson plans?
    FOr instance, I know a little bit about the Industrial Revolution, AMerican Revolution, and Martin Luther King, etc... But do I know enough to teach about it, Not at this point. So exactly when do you study and learn about the material you're going to be teaching?

    I hope I'm being clear.
     
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  3. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    What grade are you teaching? That will really make a difference.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree with INteacher. If you're teaching at the elementary levels, you'll likely be fine with a cursory knowledge of many things. At the high school level, though, you'll need to know a lot more about your one subject.
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Regardless of what level you teach, you need to be well-versed in your subject matter. You'd be surprised at the level of questioning that comes out of an elementary classroom--especially when the students are interested in something. I would say to review the information as you're planning your lessons. That way, you make sure you are covering all your bases and making sure you're teaching everything you need to. Looking at your standards will also help because it narrows down your subject quite a bit.
     
  6. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    I'm not teaching yet, hopefully I'll begin in the fall of 2009.

    ETA: I plan to teach elementary.
     
  7. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    LOL I was wondering the same thing actually. And even if you do know your subject matter, there's still the issue of, "Okay, but how do I bring it across?" So yeah, I'll be studying more than my kiddos. But then I suppose after I've been teaching for a couple of years, I'll get the hang of it and things will fall into place a little easier, and the constant studying will slow down to "studying once in awhile the newer ideas."
     
  8. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    You get to have notes. I think it is perfectly acceptable to have a note card with an outline or a few key points to help you remember what you wanted to say or how you were going to word something. You shouldn't need a full detailed research paper for each thing you teach, but realistically you aren't going to remember it all for everything you teach. I think it is even more important to have this if you are switching classes so that you can be sure to cover the same information in all your classes. I also think it is ok to say that you don't know the answer but you know where to look it up. It sets a good example for being willing to learn and for using research tools to find an answer.
     
  9. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I would say, present yourself as a professional guide, but not as the know-it-all. I love to discover with my students, and if something interests them that I don't know about yet, we research together. Or they teach me. When your students realize that you're there to model and encourage and guide them, but not to be a talking encyclopedia, that builds a sense of community. But you don't want to sacrifice your authority in the room, either. It's a delicate balance.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The feeling that you don't know enough to teach something is a strong hint to go look it up - especially during the summer, when you'll have time to think about the material and perhaps to discover cool connections between the Industrial Revolution and the American Revolution that may help you make better sense of both.

    I think it's important to approach a subject area you're learning as though it were fascinating. That mindset makes it likelier that you WILL find it fascinating, which will in turn come across in your teaching.
     
  11. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    If I don't know something, I just say, "I don't know either. We'll have to find out." The trick is to ACTUALLY find out, and not just say it to say it. I often will google something in front of the kids to model how to internet search, or go home and look something up and come in the next day with the information.

    In terms of content that you have to teach, read ahead before each lesson a couple days in advance and read beyond what the chapter in the book tells you. For example, when I taught US history to my fourth graders, I would read the chapter, but then also read about things the book didn't cover well, like women and minorities of that time period, because I felt it was important to cover.
     
  12. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    You'll learn w/your kids, but try to study up as much as you can, and you don't have to know everything. Experience is the best teacher of all.

    Be sure to follow your State Standards or whatever guidelines they provide for you. Find a Mentor Teacher to help guide you too. Ask other colleagues how they taught such lesson...

    As you teach, reflect daily on what you did, did the kids get it? Think about how you could have done it better, this is developing a sense of efficacy which all good teachers do.
     
  13. missred4190

    missred4190 Comrade

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    I will be teaching 5th for the first time, and I know that I will be doing some brushing up. Fortunately, I find science and social studies very interesting anyway. I have taught a few things before that I had to learn more about. I made a note card to help me out, and I like to make power point/movies about subjects such as the Alamo, for example. It helps me and the students both. I have also looked up many things with the students searching at the same time or with them watching. Sometimes I make it a game: who can find the answer first? This they love!

    I think that with each year your knowledge base will just grow and grow. Most important, however, is that you enjoy the subject matter as much as you want them to.
     
  14. educator

    educator Rookie

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    I think this is much easier for the teacher who teaches the same class all day. It allows the areas of interest to be incorporated into more than one subject. For instance, if civil rights is a hot issue for your students, in addition to presenting it historically, you have the opportunity to present it in social studies, civics and reading assignments. If the students are already changing classes in the fifth and sixth grades, this is difficult without coordinating with other teachers, and it's been my observation that many of these other teachers are unwilling to change the materials to accommodate the interests of the students because of the added work or reworking their lesson plans (that they've been using for the last six years).
     
  15. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I use the line: "That's a great question. Lets look up the answer when we start classwork time."

    I feel that this does two things...lets the student know it's okay not to know something and teaches them how to look up information and discern reliable websites from bs sites.
     
  16. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    That's why I like teaching so much. ...... even when I'm not an expert on something I have an excuse to learn and study it more in depth. I like to tie all subjects together as best as possible.... This helps all of us... make connections.
     
  17. DaTeach

    DaTeach Comrade

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    We are using depth of knowledge and new objectives have been added to our curriculum that I haven't a clue about, nor do I have any resources on the skills. I don't know what I would have done without the internet this past year. There is just an endless wealth of knowledge to be had...for free! Thanks to all teachers who share through their websites! I applaud you!
     
  18. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Just a suggestion -- while Google is a wonderful resource, do keep in mind that the web is a source of disinformation as well as information. Sometimes what you'd consider simple, uncontroversial fact may be rife with controversy and thus lied about regularly.
     
  19. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    This is why I like to look up the answers with the kids. That way, they can learn how to discern between good and bad info.
     
  20. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Agree, plus search engine like google can be use to point to a direction that has more reliable sources of reference. The State Board of Education for TX offers lots of info on content area & teacher resources. I used some of it when I was studying for the TExES. I would think that other states are set up similiarly.
     
  21. sherri0318

    sherri0318 Rookie

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    webmistress - I was a first year teacher last year, and while I didn't teach the American or Industrial Revolutions (thank god! :2up: - I'm a first grade teacher) believe it or not I did have to "research" some things before teaching them! All I did was do it at the time I set up my lesson plans - I did my lesson plans a week or two in advance (which I HIGHLY recommend - it kept me sane so I wasn't staying up late at night the night before the day we had to turn them in).

    Anyway, an added bonus to setting up plans several weeks in advance is that it gives you more time to "study" and prepare the lessons so you actually SOUND like you know what you're talking about.....LOL

    Good luck! (PS, that's why I stay in 1st or 2nd - not a whole lot of studying needed on my part :up:)
    Sherri
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The teacher who isn't constantly learning is probably ineffective.
     
  23. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    I found when I learned to "teach" I could teach almost any subject with proper planning (even LA) It is not what to teach BUT how to teach

    that is the Key
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I beg to differ, Dave. It's both.
     
  25. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    True but if you don't have good "teaching skills" your students will not receive the knowledge they need for learning.

    A good teacher can present material that the teacher does not grasp fully, to students, it will not be a 100% in depth but as stated before it depends of grade level.

    I have seen brilliant math instructors in college "crash & burn" because the only knew the material but not how to present it

    If I had to pick for a math classroom between a Math genus with no teaching skills and a "Basket weaving" teacher but knew how to teach I'd take the basket weaver.
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    But I wouldn't let the basket weaver teach the math class without a good deal of math catch-up work. There's nothing like feeling caught out in a subject to make a person who'd otherwise be a decent teacher behave badly.
     
  27. bluelightstar

    bluelightstar Companion

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    But if the basket weaver doesn't understand herself how to use the Mean Value Theorem for Derivatives, aren't the kids equally worse off?
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Exactly, bluelightstar. A good deal of the math anxiety I've seen was caused by teachers who clearly didn't themselves know the math well enough to recognize a reasonable solution that wasn't the one in the book.
     
  29. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    I am sorry but I assumed the basket weaver would receive the proper amount training in math.
    The Calling or ART of teaching takes time to master, longer then subject area.
    And what do colleges spend the most time on? subject not methods.
     
  30. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    The Point I was making is.... wait let me use a sports metaphor (maybe not a metaphor)

    If I Have a choice between an athlete who can be taught to hit home runs and a home run hitter who just hits home runs. I'd pick the athlete.
     
  31. bluelightstar

    bluelightstar Companion

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    Well, that's not a fair comparison then. If the basket weaver has been trained in math, then he or she becomes a math teacher.
     
  32. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Well I am trained in math and certified in Math but I have been a certified Industrial Arts teacher for 30+ years. I still call myself a "shop teacher"

    The point is, depending on the grade level, A teacher should be able to teach anything
     
  33. bluelightstar

    bluelightstar Companion

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    But you are certified to teach math, so you should be able to do so. The valid comparison should be between an English teacher who can teach well, but is not qualified to teach math and a teacher who is qualified to teach math but is not very good at teaching.
     
  34. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    That is my point Blue
    I will bet the English teacher, who teaches well, will do a better job in any subject,
    than the qualified teacher, in that subject, that can't teach a fish to swim:
    H2O + movement ≠ Swimming,
    You could be sinking to the bottom.​

    and we have all seen those kind of teachers.
     
  35. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    It would be a criminal disservice all around to throw the English teacher into, say, a high school geometry classroom, unless the English teacher has a strong enough math background to be comfortable not knowing it all. Similarly, it would be a criminal disservice all around to throw a math teacher into an English composition classroom, unless the math teacher is strong in teaching writing - though, given the way most university general-education requirements are structured, it's at least theoretically the case that any grad OUGHT to be able to do math and write at that level.
     
  36. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Well, you know what they say about theory....
     
  37. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    (snickering)

    Anyone else ever notice that what usually follows an opening like that is a quip at the expense of the theoretician?
     
  38. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    lol, no, just commenting that theory and reality don't always match.
     
  39. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Kinda like NCLB?
    :toofunny: :rofl: :lol:
     
  40. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Play nice....

    But yeah...perfect analogy.
     
  41. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Hiya, TG & Dave - haven't seen y'all much lately! It's good to see that you are both still on the ball!
     

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