Showing posts tagged learning.

saturday mornings

Ask me anything   Musings from an educator, writer and photographer.

Stop Penalizing Boys for Not Being Able to Sit Still in School →



Peek into most American classrooms and you will see desks in rows, teachers pleading with students to stay in their seats and refrain from talking to their neighbors. Marks for good behavior are rewarded to the students who are proficient at sitting still for long periods of time. Many boys do not have this skill.

In an attempt to get at what actually works for boys in education, Dr. Michael Reichert and Dr. Richard Hawley, in partnership with the International Boys’ School Coalition, launched a study called Teaching Boys: A Global Study of Effective Practices, published in 2009. The study looked at boys in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, in schools of varying size, both private and public, that enroll a wide range of boys of disparate races and income levels.

The authors asked teachers and students to “narrate clearly and objectively an instructional activity that is especially, perhaps unusually, effective in heightening boys’ learning.” The responses—2,500 in all—revealed eight categories of instruction that succeeded in teaching boys. The most effective lessons included more than one of these elements:

  • Lessons that result in an end product—a booklet, a catapult, a poem, or a comic strip, for example.
  • Lessons that are structured as competitive games.
  • Lessons requiring motor activity.
  • Lessons requiring boys to assume responsibility for the learning of others.
  • Lessons that require boys to address open questions or unsolved problems.
  • Lessons that require a combination of competition and teamwork.
  • Lessons that focus on independent, personal discovery and realization.
  • Lessons that introduce drama in the form of novelty or surprise.

Rather than penalize the boys’ relatively higher energy and competitive drive, the most effective way to teach boys is to take advantage of that high energy, curiosity, and thirst for competition. While Reichert and Hawley’s research was conducted in all-boys schools, these lessons can be used in all classrooms, with both boys and girls.

I really hate these articles. We (as a society obvi) socialize boys and girls to behave the way they do. Our present educational needs happen to coincide better with traits that girls are taught early on (PATRIARCHY) they should have: submissiveness, attentiveness, and obedience. 

Rather then continuing to blame biology with this pile of pseudo science perhaps we should reconsider the way we teach young children about gender? The brain is plastic, malleable. There are serious consequences to teachers and parents believing that genitals actually have something to do with the way children learn. 

I was going to add my own scathing commentary but Leah got there first and did it better, so I’ll just reblog her.

I especially like where it is pointed out in the first response that girls are taught to have the traits of: submissiveness, attentiveness, and obedience. I taught my daughters to not be submissive and obedient, and that learning should be engaging. As you would guess, they did not always please their teachers. However, outside of school, they have been wildly successful. Go figure.

(Source: teachinginthemiddle)

— 1 year ago with 98 notes
#learning  #education  #gender roles 
Week One

Week one, spring is here, the building is hot, field trips are coming up. Despite all of the distractions, no detentions, no referrals. There were a few conversations regarding behavior, but that’s it. I asked a student who was being loud and nasty to leave, sent him to talk to an administrator - he could come back when he apologized and promised to act better. That was the consequence - apologize, act better. Which he did. I did not write it up. 

Classrooms should be student centered. To the casual observer this might look like the teacher not doing much. To the knowledgeable observer, they would see a lot going on. 

First, there is a great deal more planning that goes into a student centered classroom. You can’t assign a few book pages and some questions and give a lecture. Students learn through exploring, investigating, questioning, thinking, discussing, writing, doing. The teacher, once the lesson is set up, facilitates, guides, assists, redirects, answers questions, provides resources, provides feedback. A student centered classroom is busy, often noisy, sometimes chaotic. Sure a student can get off task. So can all those docile little souls sitting at their desks. Did you really think every student was rapt with attention while the teacher was lecturing, or that they see the textbook as a “page turner”? 

I want them to “get it”. I want them to have fun. I want them to remember what they did. I want them to be able to make connections. I want them to understand that, whatever the circumstances, it is the student who is in charge of their education, their learning. Not me. I’m here to help. 

Learning should be fun. Classrooms should be cool places to be. Teachers should be an adult the student can trust. I remember those days, a long time ago. We need to get back there, one classroom at a time.

Did you have fun in school today?

— 1 year ago
#learning  #education  #classrooms  #student centered learning  #alternative discipline  #creative learning 
Technology in the Classroom

The views on technology in the classroom range from get rid of all of it, get back to basics, to the totally digital classroom. 

The best of technology empowers students. Back in the old days, we used encyclopedias. Often, we stayed within what we knew. “Look it up” meant going somewhere, finding a source, finding the information, it took time and effort for each piece of information. Now, computers in all forms - desktop, tablet, smartphones - are readily available. Even in casual conversation, kids will “look it up”. They are not reluctant to admit they don’t know something, because they know how to find out. This has changed how kids approach learning. They are always learning. 

The worst of technology is a distraction at it’s least problematic, and displaces or twists human interaction at it’s most problematic. 

To balance the best and worst, we can ask better questions and maintain human support, caring, guidance and friendship. 

— 2 years ago
#technology  #education  #learning  #students  #teachers