If you have been in education long enough I guarantee you have heard this phrase: But I have to teach that way – I need to prepare them for college. It’s a sentence we’re heard uttered middle through high school, about all types of teaching: lecturing, high stakes exams, an emphasis on memorizing facts. In… Continue reading But Are We Preparing Them For College?
In my first years as a teacher, I spent hours and hours preparing for each lesson plan...and we should make sure they are very carefully thought out! But I've changed the questions that I ask myself when planning. I used to think... What information or skills do I need to convey to the students? What… Continue reading Do you sometimes (accidentally) sabotage learning?
Currently, K-12 science education in the United States...does not provide students with engaging opportunities to experience how science is actually done. -National Research Council Stage 4 of our framework emphasizes disciplinary thinking, which includes the ways of knowing and reasoning that are accepted as appropriate in a field of study. Historians make sense of the world… Continue reading 3 Steps to Thinking Like an Expert
How many times have you stood in front of the class with an interesting situation or dilemma and narrated your thoughts aloud for your students so they can hear how you reason through it? If we just "tell" students what experts have "figured out", it doesn't help the students move in the direction of expert… Continue reading Try this: Model expert thinking
The world is changing at an unprecedented rate. What jobs will today's students be doing in 20 years? Are our schools coming even close to preparing them? In an entertaining speech at the IBM Think Forum, Tom Friedman gives us this equation: Globalization + Information Technology Cheap Genius He says, "The implication for the… Continue reading Think about…jobs of the future
What are you teaching tomorrow? Causes of the Civil War? Photosynthesis? Exponents? Huck Finn? Now think about this - what was the source of the understanding you want students to walk away with? Contrary to popular belief, knowledge doesn’t just fall out of the sky. Someone first came up with every piece of knowledge… Continue reading Try this…Creating Knowledge
What do we hope students would say if we asked them why we study different academic disciplines? Asking students during the summer is a great exercise to get baseline data for what they think. Questions to help us analyze their responses: Are we teaching the disciplines in a way that inspires an appreciation of their… Continue reading Your Turn: What do students think about disciplines?
"The best way to understand circles is to reinvent the wheel." Nicholas Negroponte, Founder MIT Media Lab My thinking about the purpose of academic subjects has evolved quite a bit over the last decade. Even the use of the word "disciplines" instead of "subjects" demonstrates how my thinking has changed. What I used… Continue reading What is the purpose of academic subjects?
Imagine the following classroom assignment: Explain the causes and impacts of the Great Influenza outbreak of 1918 If we want to save the world, we need to learn to prevent (or at least very effectively treat) pandemics like this, right? We can imagine that studying the causes and effects of the Great Influenza might teach… Continue reading Stage 4: Discipline their minds