The pages I am curating here are all tied to the concept of the professional teacher -a teacher who knows the craft, and works constantly towards improving it. The sites I choose help me develop that professionalism through their sharing of ideas and resources.
The choice of sites are also coloured by who I am as a teaching professional. I qualified as an English and Literature teacher and went on to be a library head and then English head of department while in a Singapore secondary school. In Australia, I taught English and SOSE and currently work in ESL, in the intensive language department where I teach teenagers who have had between 3 to 8 months of exposure to the language and prepare them to enter middle school. In the ILC, I teach all subjects. Its a challenging but rewarding job. My success hinges on my professionalism as I constantly strive to meet my students' needs.
So you’ve graduated and landed a job – congratulations! You have made the first step in what can be one of the most rewarding professions around. The alarming news is that not all new teachers make it. In fact, research1 shows that about 30% of new teachers don’t make it past their first five years …
With over 30 years of experience, I have had few problems with classroom management. On the last day of school however, I had to take on a year 10 supervision class. I was horrified with the behaviour I had to handle, but more horrified by the fact that I had allowed myself to let my guard down so the problems in the class soon spiralled out of control. Too many years of having a class of my own where I could mould expectations of behaviour and enforce them. These tips for a beginning teacher are a timely reminder to all of us.
The Padagogy Wheel is designed to help educators think – systematically, coherently, and with a view to long term, big-picture outcomes – about how they use mobile apps in their teaching. The Padagogy Wheel is all about mindsets; it’s a way of thinking about digital-age education that meshes together concerns about mobile app features, learning transformation, motivation, cognitive development and long-term learning objectives.
The Padagogy Wheel, though, is not rocket science. It is an everyday device that can be readily used by everyday teachers; it can be applied to everything from curriculum planning and development, to writing learning objectives and designing centered activities. The idea is for the users to respond to the challenges that the Wheel presents for their teaching practices, and to ask themselves the tough questions about their choices and methods.
Take a spin through any science center worth it’s salt and you’ll notice a theme: everything is hands-on. That’s no accident. Hands-on learning for many subject areas can greatly increase learning, growth and retention of knowledge. This is especially true in the younger grades, but incorporating elements of hands-on learning is important at any stage of learning. Let’s take a deeper look at just why that is.
While there are many factors that will influence the success of learners, we cannot run from the fact that the teacher is the most important influence in the equation. As I read this article, I recalled how important it is to know our students and their prior knowledge. Activities such as KWL help here. We must also provide effective means for feedback to reach us. Simply asking "any questions" does not address the learners needs.
Innovative thinking in students will flower when we design classrooms that absolutely can’t survive without it. Same with critical thinking, self-direction, creativity, and so on. Until we reach that point, it’s on the shoulders of the classroom teacher to tease it out of students through a combination of inspiration, modeling, scaffolding, and creating persistent opportunity.
We invite you to read our latest SVC2UK White Paper, “The Future of E-ducation“, written in collaboration with Gold Mercury International, the Corporate Vision® Strategy Think Tank. The Paper draws on many of the case studies from SVC2UK 2013 and explores what the future is likely to look like for teachers and students.
How I Use ‘Check For Understanding’ Questions In My Teaching by Dan Henderson, Author of That’s Special: A Survival Guide To Teaching As adults we often take for granted our wide range of vocabulary and the comprehension that comes with applying knowledge while writing. Too often in my younger years [...]
Judith Morais's insight:
A rather honest and refreshing read. The perils of not checking for understanding are presented through this sharing of a harrowing classroom experience. We should never make assumptions about what our students take away from their learning experiences. Rather, we should find ways to pre-empt any misconceptions, and clarify issues after the lesson.
A four-year-old asks on average about 400 questions per day, and an adult hardly asks any. Our school system is structured around rewards for regurgitating the right answer, and not asking smart questions – in fact, it discourages asking questions. With the result that as we grow older, we stop asking questions. Yet asking good questions is essential to find and develop solutions, and an important skill in innovation, strategy, and leadership.
Quite some years ago I visited a school in Baltimore City that had raised its third-grade reading scores dramatically. I wanted to see what they were doing to be so successful -- and I was curious about why its fifth-grade scores had not improved eve...
The Common Core should finally improve math education. The problem is that no one has taught the teachers how to teach it.
Judith Morais's insight:
Read this excellent article to discover nuggets of insight into how to teach right. I am not a maths teacher. I am an English teacher now placed in a situation in which teaching maths is part of my portfolio as I teach in the intensive language centre. How do I do it (successfully, my students point out)? By doing much of what this article suggests for the teaching of math. But the relevance of this article goes beyond just math. What I take away from this is the need to see the equation from the point of view of the learner. All effective teachers, I believe, identify the needs of their students and find the best way to meet those needs. This passion is what keeps me so enthralled with the career I have chosen.
The 21st Century Fluencies are not about hardware, they are about headware and heartware. We need to move our thinking beyond our primary focus on traditional literacy to an additional set of 21st-...
Judith Morais's insight:
Food for thought here as I work on my unit plans for next term. I'm always looking for new ways to stretch my students to reach their potential, and what better way than to prepare them for their future.
The culmination of my quest for more powerful learning grounded in theory and research came when recently I conducted an experiment in pushing constructionism into the digital age.
Constructionism is based on two types of construction. First, it asserts that learning is an active process, in which people actively construct knowledge from their experience in the world. People don’t get ideas; they make them. This aspect of construction comes from the constructivist theory of knowledge development by Jean Piaget. To Piaget’s concept, Papert added another type of construction, arguing that people construct new knowledge with particular effectiveness when they are engaged in constructing personally meaningful products.
Imagine my surprise and joy when I realized that I had arrived at constructionism prior to knowing that such a theory even existed. I believe that thousands of other educators are unknowingly working within the constructionist paradigm as well. Although many within the Maker movement are aware that it has it’s roots in constructionism, the movement is gaining impressive momentum without the majority of Makers realizing that there is a strong theoretical foundation behind their work.
After I came to understand this connection between my practices and the supporting theoretical framework I was better able to focus and refine my practice. Even more importantly, I felt more confident and powerful in forging ahead with further experiments in the learning situations I design for my learners.
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