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Posted by on in Studentcentricity

 

Raised hands in classroomIn the past, teachers asked the questions and students answered them – if they could. But just because it’s always been done that way, it doesn’t mean it should continue to be done that way. A number of teachers are now encouraging students to both ask and answer questions! That was the topic of my Studentcentricity discussion with Aleta Margolis, Dan Rothstein, and Jason Flom.

Following are additional thoughts from Aleta and Dan. They provide some excellent rationale for reflection.

From Aleta come these takeaways:

The kinds of questions that we ask of young people and the kinds of questions we teach them reveal how we fundamentally see children. Inspired Teaching sees children as "potential-full" people and so we equip children with the kinds of life-long learning questions that empower them to become the future community builders, makers, creators, inventors, innovators, and caretakers that they have the potential to be. The following paragraphs, from the Inspired Teaching Guidebook, capture the essence of this:

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Posted by on in Studentcentricity

touch

When we think of learning, the two senses that typically come to mind are sight and sound. Students look and they listen. But what about the sense of touch? Should it play a role in your classroom? If so, how much of a role?

As it turns out, touch can have a vital role in teaching and learning and as someone who’s forever promoting the use of multiple senses, I’m delighted that we’re acquiring more and more information on the topic. The research on the importance of touch – whether it’s feeling and manipulating objects or the value of human touch in the teaching and learning process – is very exciting.

About the latter, teacher Joan Young says:

Touch is the way we connect to each other, show compassion, and create community. One of the most important ways that I have built a safe and lively learning space is through rituals to celebrate hard work and successes as well as failures. Fist bumps, high fives, handshakes at the door are small actions that join us and convey we are all working together, trying to bring out each other’s best.

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Posted by on in Studentcentricity

teacher and studentFor three decades, I’ve been recommending that teachers present movement challenges to kids with the words, “Show me you can…” It’s a simple technique but amazingly effective in keeping kids on task because they want to show you – one of the important adults in their lives – that they can. Furthermore, when a teacher phrases a challenge in such a way, it implies that she or he knows the child can handle the challenge. I’ve witnessed it myself: kids thrive when we believe in their capabilities. 

The work of Harvard psychologist Robert Rosenthal proved that to be true. In 1964, at a San Francisco elementary school, Rosenthal gave children a test that their teachers had been told would predict which students were about to dramatically improve their IQ. Following the test he randomly chose students whom the test had “proven” were on the verge of vast intellectual growth.

The result? After two years of studying the children, Rosenthal found that “if teachers had been led to expect greater gains in IQ, then increasingly, those kids gained more in IQ.”

Does the same thing happen in reverse? If we expect less of students – for example, disruptive behavior from boys or less success in math and science from girls – do we get what we expect? How could we not?

Following my Studentcentricity discussion with Lori Desautels, Deborah Stipek, and Jennifer Carey on the subject of teacher beliefs, Lori wrote,

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Posted by on in Studentcentricity

j0439449

The subject of rewards is certainly a hot-button in education. Many teachers love them, with most convinced that they’re essential to motivating students. And nowhere is this more evident than where reading is concerned. Reading incentive programs are all the rage, with schools rewarding kids with everything from stickers to pizza. It doesn’t seem to matter that there’s an abundance of research demonstrating that not only do rewards – including reading incentive programs – fail to work; also, they can sap the joy and motivation right out of the activity for which the children are being rewarded.

A couple of years back I was fascinated to read in an online education forum the comment that rewards “prepare kids for the real world.” I later asked Dan Pink, in a BAM Radio interview, if rewarding kids is similar to adults receiving bonuses for a job well done. He said, “I think it is similar, and I think it’s similarly ineffective.”

Dan, the author of Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, calls these kinds of things “if/then rewards”: if you do this, then you get that. He explained that 50 years of social science tell us they are effective as performance boosters but only for simple tasks “with very short time horizons.” He added,

the same body of research tells us they are far, far, far less effective for work that requires judgment, discernment, creativity, conceptual thinking, and for work that has a longtime horizon. There’s nothing inherently evil about if/then rewards; it’s just that if we really want our kids to be creative, conceptual thinkers – have longtime horizons and not be…just mice chasing after the next bit of cheese – then we have to abandon our heavy, heavy, heavy reliance on if/then rewards in all circumstances.

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Posted by on in Studentcentricity

 

happy classroom As I stated in my discussion with Lori Desautels, Kay Albrecht, and Peter DeWitt, just as we can’t start building a house with the second story we can’t get to the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (self-actualization) by skipping over the bottom levels.

Here’s some of Lori’s rationale as to why the bottom of the pyramid matters:

Our brains are wired for attachment and survival. When we feel "felt" by another, we are able to create a brain state of equanimity and therefore move through the tasks of the day! This is true for all of us, not just students. Teacher well-being is at the root of student well-being and when we model in transparent ways the needs we have and how we meet them, superior teaching takes hold!

She advises:    

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