Blog 5 Response

Taken from: Make a Difference

Weblog: Anne Davis

URL: http://anne.teachesme.com/

Anne Davis writes: All the good things that go on in the world go on without making headlines in the news. I wish we would hear more about those good things that are happening.

My Response: This response really exposes the messed up culture we are living in due to the news theory that "If it bleeds, it leads."  As educators we know the home life of a child shapes so much and we only have to look at the six o'clock news to see the same disasters that youngsters are viewing and hearing opinions about at home.  Even as an adult I find it a chore to watch the first six minutes of any news broadcast and not get disgusted.  We know we have a problem when we want it to be election time; at least during that time every newscast isn't engulfed with horror stories. 

                   As educators we also know how important and influential a child's classroom experience can be.  I believe we need to highlight more of the good things in classrooms, on assignments, etc.  This art seems to get lost around the transition into secondary education.  At those levels students hear more and focus more on what they did wrong as opposed to right.  I know the value of critiquing and getting better at what we do poorly, but it is still rewarding for students to hear positive comments in this sometimes thankless time of their life.  I also appreciate the fact we don't need to put smiley-face stickers on high school papers and at times focusing on negative behaviors for disciplinary actions is needed, but instructors and school workers need to find a healthy blend of each.

 

Blog 4 Response

Taken from: We are all Learners

Weblog: Lisa Durff

URL: http://durffsblog.blogspot.com/

Lisa Durff writes: Many of the learners continue to struggle with this distinction, insisting I am a teacher. I continue to insist I am not, I am not in charge of their learning.

 My Response: This is a powerful comment and should be a real gut check for students once they realize that they are responsible for their learning.  As educators it is our job to provide each student with an equal chance to learn.  At times we must discipline or motivate, but learning is a task that can only be achieved by oneself.

It is also encouraging to see an educator still have desires to learn and not become comfortable after years of experience.  Education doesn't have to be limited to students.  All members of a school's society, including parents, should take part in the act of learning despite their occupation, age, or experience.   

Teachers must find it rewarding when a student uses a critical thinking approach or scientific method to come up with an answer that they (the teacher) might not have had.  Instead of feeling upset or threatened, they need to realize they have taught the intangible things to that student.  For a student to demonstrate knowledge about the application process of the content taught is the goal of teaching.  We often forget this amongst the debacle of fact regurgitation and standardized testing.

 

Blog 3 Response

Taken from: Technological Literacy? It's Still Just Learning

Weblog: Bud Hunt

URL: http://budtheteacher.typepad.com/bud_the_teacher/

 

Bud Hunt writes: If you know the definition of technological literacy that your state is using , jot it down in the comments - I'd be curious to see the range of definitions.  My fingers are crossed that there's not much variance from state.

 

 My Response: In 2002, the International Technology Education Association (ITEA) copyrighted and released its second version of Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology.  In this manual the ITEA, which originated out of the Technology for All Americans Project, defines technological literacy as being able to "use, manage, assess, and understand technology."  It previously defined technology as "the modification of the natural environment in order to satisfy perceived human needs and wants."  The book is filled with benchmarks, objectives, vignettes, and standards for four separate levels(K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12), and obviously the depth and comprehension designed for each level becomes greater.

I use different definitions when working with students that are studying technology.  To me technology is the study and manipulation of the human made world.  This helps portray to students that the paper they write on and the mechanical pencil they write with are technology, not just their school computer lab. 

The great thing about technology is how well it lends itself to be taught across the curriculum.  I talk about technology and the natural world, which quickly leads discussion into science or what I define as the study of the natural world.  We have even worked English into some technology debates as we take a look at the noun and verb meanings of the word "engineer" and how it is often misinterpreted.
 

Blog 2 Response

Taken from: Coaching

Weblog: Chris Lehmann

URL: http://practicaltheory.org/serendipity/

 

Chris Lehmann writes: You had to want it. You had to want to play. You had to want to work. You had to want to push yourself. There was no space for withholding a piece of yourself from your teammates, because why would you get up that god-awful early in the morning if you weren't prepared to care?

          In the end, it wasn't about winning and losing -- although I hated to lose -- it was about playing as well as we could.

 

 My Response: I was drawn to this post as soon as I read the title, and the emotion within the text is exciting and motivating.  I have never been bashful about telling people I am entering education to better myself for coaching opportunities (whether that approach is right or wrong).  If I am a high school teacher/coach somewhere and a fulltime coaching position comes up, I can't see myself passing it up at this point in my young coaching career.  Two things really stood out to me in this post. 1) the passion and truth about wins and losses not being the deciding factor of success and 2) how bad everybody had to "want it" to be there at 6:30AM every morning.

          As coaches I think the most important thing we build is character, so winning and losing isn't the X-factor in our success.  As adults we all know students will face adversity throughout life; so I preach that it's not about getting knocked down, it's about getting back up.  To do this I don't like words like winners and losers.  "Compete", "Succeed", "Achieve", and "Over-achieve" are words I like to use daily with young athletes to generate a positive mind frame.

          Again, I think character ties into the second part of this post, about wanting to be at practice despite the hardships that went with it.  Coaches, as lovers of character, dream of the athletes described in this text.  When the chips are on the table and the nuts are out, this brand of competitor is at their best.  I use an analogy that the young athletes we want as coaches will understand.  I talk about wanting athletes that I will walk down a dark alley with, because I know these are the type to look adversity in the face and tell it to go to hell.  Those team members that don't get that analogy seem to be the ones out there for other reasons (i.e. social event, vicarious parents).  As a coach it are those non-believers that I want to inspire, because I realize if they don't buy into a successful, competitors state of mind, than they will live a long life of mediocrity and in some cases disappointment.

 

Blog 1 Response

Taken from: Motivation is not the problem

Weblog: Tim Fredrick

URL: http://timfredrick.typepad.com/timfredrick/

Tim Fredrick writes: What strikes me about this program is that it is a solution to the wrong problem.  This (in addition to merit pay for teachers) implies that motivation is the problem in our schools.  The students aren't motivated, so let's pay 'em.  The teachers aren't motivated, so let's pay 'em more.

 My Response:

Motivation is a great factor in the success of students and teachers, the problem is their personal motivations will differ so much that there is no textbook approach a school can take to be successful at motivating them.  We can't say money won't motivate students, just like we can't say money won't motivate teachers.  Run an experiment at any school in America telling one-hundred instructors that they won't be paid for an entire year.  One-hundred people might show up the next day, most of them to clear out their desk.  It is proven daily that money is a great motivator in our world; because of the things it can do for individuals.  Students probably realize money made O.J. innocent and then begin to imagine what money could do for them.  Some parents choose to discipline their children for bad grades, while others pay their children for receiving good marks.  I'd like to be referred to a statistic comparing those approaches before I jump on the bandwagon thinking money is not a successful motivator.  I also know money motivates students to compete, succeed, and in some cases over-achieve; but not necessarily the cash-in-pocket money we all assume we are talking about.  As a high school student I didn't like school, but society told me I had to learn (more like memorize test materials) to get good grades.  These good grades would then get me into college and I must have a college education to be successful (have money) in life.  I believe that to be a common example of students being motivated indirectly by the power of money.  What about the college student that keeps up their GPA to remain eligible for a tuition scholarship?  Again, money plays a big factor in the motivation of that student.  Will money motivate every student?  Absolutely not.  There will always be some silver-spoon teen that will be successful in life no matter what their high school transcripts reads.  However, this person seems to be an exception in today's working class world.

 
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