Tired of Teaching The Same thing!

Discussion in 'High School' started by mr.bryant, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. mr.bryant

    mr.bryant New Member

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    Dec 18, 2008

    I'm new to this site, but I'm looking for other teachers who are in the same boat! My issue is I'm not sure how to communicate with students in this generation. They no longer see education as a necessity but simply as a punishment. So how do you communicate to your students that the info your giving them is important and that they need it. What is the problem with getting students to hear the information that is required for us to teach them. How are you suppose to communicate with students in this generation. any Clues or suggestions?
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    What is your subject? Is there a way to create lessons that can be applied to the lives of your students? Poetry can be found in rap lyrics and other songs. Social Studies can focus on current events and how they are echoed in the past or around the world. Math can be about sports statistics and the like. This is totally off the top of my head so feel free to take it with a shaker of salt!
     
  4. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    I think the key is in the concept of "info you are giving them." I think that:

    1 - Information is cheap in this era. I see information as something that I use to allow students to learn how to read, think, analyze, communicate, etc.
    2 - I think about what the kids are learning than what I am teaching.
     
  5. mrb1977

    mrb1977 Rookie

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    Dec 21, 2008

    Mr.Bryant,
    Students today are much different than those even ten years ago. As Bob Dillon sang "The times are a changing". He was surely a philosopher of the future. I know what you mean. My observation has concluded, that the educational reforms and government standardized testing has created a generation of "great test takers". Prior to the hype of standardized testing majority of the students cared about what they were learning. I find that when I relate the subject matter to the real world, they can make connections and sometimes care about the subject matter. I promote critical thinking, problem solving, and tell the students where and how they can use these skills within their lives. They need to be able to make sense of it all. If they can't make the connections, it's just busy work to them.
    Mr.b
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Dec 21, 2008

  7. tchrsher

    tchrsher New Member

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    Dec 30, 2008

    I hate teaching the same thing and so I try not to...sort of. I try to look for current information to add a different twist to everything I teach. If I stop learning I get bored. There are lots of resources on the internet. Use a search engine and have fun looking around!
     
  8. Rentamentor

    Rentamentor New Member

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    Jan 18, 2009

    Dear Mr Bryant,

    Thanks.

    Perhaps this method will work for you too. A few of my friends and I do this.

    Use a Bribe.

    Getting out of class a few minutes before the bell is a good bribe.

    In order to Get a Jump on others at lunch or at the end of the day the class has to fill out a short Questionnaire...

    I - What are your Favorite Movies?

    II - What TV shows do you watch?

    III - What sports or after-school clubs are you a member or - if any?

    IV - What music or singers are at the top of your iPod play-list?

    ===============

    DIRECTIONS:

    Sort the answers into groups.

    You can link Any School subject to music or a TV show or a Favorite movie.

    Math.
    English
    Social Studies

    Start with what the Students Like - then link that to your class instruction.

    Glenn
     
  9. Camel & Walrus

    Camel & Walrus Rookie

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    Jan 21, 2009

    It could be a number of problems - How the curriculum is structured, the school, your choice of information, etc.

    Maybe there is nothing you can do.

    Example being my underlying concern over maths as a mandatory subject.

    I hated maths as a student and still do... at least what they consider maths in high school, that is five years of the repetitive practise of mathematics. I have a great admiration for it as a subject especially it's history and in art but if you have a class full of students who understand how to use basic maths by age X and none of them plan to go on to become structural engineers most of them are going to be sitting there bored out of their minds.
     
  10. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    Jan 22, 2009

    I asked a question in one of my posts...and yours and mine are rooted in the same issue.

    The only solution or patch to the issue has been setting a tone slowly throughout the year. I start "easy" in their minds but have high expectations. As the year progresses I increase the complexity of the tasks...and maintain the expectations. It works well with all my ELA assignments except reading...I am working on that one...
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2009


    I disagree. Strongly.

    But it's been an emotional few days and I need sleep.

    So I'll leave the explanation of why I disagree to someone else.
     
  12. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I HATED math in High School. I could do it on the homework, but I felt my teachers tricked me. I couldn't stand it until I go to college, when I started to LOVE it. There is nothing better than the feeling when you get the problem right. Even when I'm teaching History I use math. I use it in my grading and math helps problem solving skills. Though I agree in a sense though, why the need for advanced mathematics if you do not plan on using it?
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 23, 2009

    OK, the shortened version of what I really want to say:

    Are we REALLY talking about letting 14 or 15 year olds decide what they want to learn? About what they'll need for the rest of their lives? Kids who change BFF's on a daily basis?

    We don't think there's a REASON they're not allowed to vote or drink or drive???

    I hated grammar in school. It's dull and boring. Yet, I thank God someone cared enough to make me learn the difference between "loosing" and "losing" and "prinicpal" and "principle" and just where to put an apostrophe.

    I hated science too. I knew from day 1 that I was never going to be a scientist. Yet, this week in particular, I thank GOD that I learned a little. I knew to be VERY concerned (read that as "teriified") very early in a pregnancy scare after 10 rounds of radiation.

    My sister hated Spanish, and knew she was never moving to Spain. Yet, 30 years after her last Spanish class, she was in Mexico on vacation and the bill was wrong--by a lot. She knew enough Spanish to argue it down to where it should have been. I'm sure the grammar was terrible, but she made her point.

    I'm firmly in favor of a liberal arts high school education. Kids should be exposed to everything, from Physics to higher level math to foreign language. I don't care whether or not they'll all use it.

    I'm in favor of education for the sake of education-- does it really harm kids (or adults) to learn more?

    And how on earth do we think we'll ever solve the big problems-- on the enviornment, on cancer and AIDS research, on a million other issues-- if we let 14 year olds decide what's important?

    A woman I once worked with was a great math teacher. She quit after her older son was born. Little did she know that the science background she had would be tremendously important in understanding her son's birth defect. (For those of you on LI, she was the mom of the "butterfly boy" on the cover of Newsday a few weeks back.)

    Why make this about high school? Why not let the elementary school kids decide what they'll learn? Come on, dinosaurs are FAR more interesting than times tables, right?? Let's do more dinosaurs!

    There's so much more I can say. But I sense I'm not going to convince anyone. But it does frighten me to see that there are teachers who don't seem to see an intrinsic value in education.
     
  14. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Actually I hate math too. It is interesting to note though that we do use it more than we think we do but it becomes more intuitive as we get older rather than paperwork formulas. If we never learned it, it might never become intuitive.

    I am teaching equivalent fractions right now. The process of changing those fractions is never used formally in real life by me but as I stopped to think about it, it is used all the time in cooking. Same with algebra. For those of us that never learn formulas, we may never do it a quick and easy way but the concept behind it still remains deep in us and we solve problems everyday accordingly.
     
  15. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Thank you, cut :).

    Brenden...define "advanced" mathematics. I've found the math haters usually define this as anything beyond arithmetic. Algebra is very much needed in everyday life, as cut pointed out, even if it's not needed formally. Just the logic, the thought process, is an important skill to learn and can be applied to a variety of situations.

    Like Alice, I don't want to post my long drawn out answer to this, but I will say that Mathematics is simply a part of basic literacy, and all the people saying it's not useful are the products of poor teaching. If those people are teachers, they perpetuate the cycle, giving us yet another generation who are not fully literate.
     
  16. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I disagree about bribing them in leaving early. The admin at the school may frown upon letting students out early. If the OP does this repeatedly, the students are going to start watching the clock instead of paying attention to the content.



    Mr. Bryant: I'm not sure how long you've been teaching, but from what you've said in your post, I'm going to assume it's been awhile. I'm not sure what subject you teach, but these ideas could work for any subject.

    *First, make your lessons more hands on. Students today do better when they can actually manipulate the information.

    *The classroom, and for that matter the workforce, is heading towards more group work, so putting students into cooperative groups where they can either produce a group project, or present information to the class (jigsaw strategy).

    *And students today really need to know how they can take the information learned in your class and use it in their lives.


    And Alice, I agree with you. At 14-15, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I graduated. And like you said, these kids change what they want to be as often as they change boyfriends. Whose to say that a student who doesn't want to take math when they are a freshman, decides their senior year that they want to go into accounting or another field where they'll need the math they passed on their freshman year?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
  17. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aliceacc, I just wanted to commend you for your insight into why what we do and what we convey is so important. Students need to learn what we teach because they will, at some point in their lives, NEED TO USE IT. :thumb::thanks:
     
  18. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I'd say beyond Algebra II. Remember I teach math I am not a mat hater.
     
  19. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Brendan, my point exactly. I wasn't saying that you didn't think math to Algebra II was useful, but that, in my experience, those who identify themselves as math haters define algebra as "advanced", when in reality, it is still foundational.
     
  20. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I'm not a math hater, I just don't like it that much. ;) To me, "advanced" math is Cal, Trig, Stats (just for you mm!).
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Ok, so if we grant a typical sequence: Algebra I as freshmen, Geometry as sophomores, and Algebra II/Trig as Juniors, we're talking about what math Seniors should take?

    I'll readily grant that not every kid can get a handle on Precalc. That's not at ALL what I interpreted from the person who posed the problem.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'll add to all of this that people who have the tools are likelier to find them useful than people who don't.
     
  23. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I think it is always good to be educated. In the ideal world it would be great if all kids could take up to Calculus in High School, but I don't teach in an ideal world. Close to 100 or so kids in my school will retake Pre-algebra in 9th grade and will finish their senior year by taking an abreviated form of Algebra II. Other kids who have trouble with math will end their math career by taking Advanced Algebra. Is it really necessary for these kids who struggle with math to begin with to take precalculus? I do not think so, IMO. While I will never say math is pointless, I do not see (if I did teach math) how anything beyond Algebra I would play into my daily teaching life as a teacher and formely as a lawyer.
     
  24. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    But we're not discussing "advanced" mathematics. We're discussing fundemental mathematics.
     
  25. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oh, sorry I am trying to play both sides of the math argument as I see both teaching Math and in High School not being a fan of it.
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    It's also helpful when those who are supposed to be handing kids the tools do it properly. I sometimes wonder how my life would be different if any one of at least half a dozen members of A to Z had been teaching math in my school instead of the idiot that ran (rather than taught) the geometry class whom I couldn't have avoided for Algebra II.
     
  27. Writer02

    Writer02 Companion

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    We have to teach the standards. We can connect interesting topics to the standards to motivate students, but we still must teach the objectives set by our states. So, if the kids want to learn about dinosaurs, make your math problems about dinosaurs. Just be sure to teach the math skills as set by your county/state.

    I never really enjoyed math as a favorite subject in HS, but I made it through Algebra II and withdrew from a Trig/Precalc. class that I hated my senior year.
     
  28. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Ditto!
     
  29. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    I firmly disagree with making bribes just to get high schoolers to learn something. I *might* allow a very very very very slight consideration for preK, Kinder, or early elementary, but that could be pushing it. Parents bribe them too much as it is."If you quit cheerleading I'll buy you a car." "If you get a C or above on your grade card I'll take you shopping/buy you a phone" etc. I'm not their parents-I am preparing students for the world outside of high school whether it be college or work-there's no bribes there. Yes, I may REWARD after the fact if a good deed is done, but its not advertised beforehand. If I told my students they could leave early to lunch for something they'd find shortcuts to get something done-regardless of it being right/wrong-just to leave and bother mey profusely with the "well what if we.. can we leave early then?" I'm the teacher, not them. They don't dictate how the class runs, I do.
     

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