I have just finished reading a guest post on Grant Wiggins’ blog titled A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned. This blog was such an eye opener in some ways and in others, I feel entirely vindicated and validated. For my own personal public education experience, I feel like this shadowing “report” bears no similarity. I may have spent a great deal of time in my seat, but I don’t remember feeling like school was so boring or I spent all my time passively absorbing information. Maybe it’s because I was a nerd (still am!) who genuinely liked school (still do!). Maybe it’s because my teachers were engaging and fun (they were!) and pushed the learning on us students (they did!). My eyes have been opened that not every experience of secondary public education is the same. The anonymous guest writer shared that when shadowing students, she noticed that “High School students are sitting passively and listening during approximately 90% of their classes.” instead of being active participants in their own learning. The changes that this veteran teacher would make were intruiging to me and I feel that I can implement one of them into my own teaching practice. Particularly, the suggestion to make a change for lesson length.
“Offer brief, blitzkrieg-like mini-lessons with engaging, assessment-for-learning-type activities following directly on their heels (e.g. a ten-minute lecture on Whitman’s life and poetry, followed by small-group work in which teams scour new poems of his for the very themes and notions expressed in the lecture, and then share out or perform some of them to the whole group while everyone takes notes on the findings.)”
This falls in line with the idea that students are taking ownership of the content and their own learning while working collaboratively and to understand, not get the perfect answer. I would like to hope that my own practice is beginning to look like this style of learning/teaching.
The school schedule that this guest writer shared is similar to the school where I am placed this semester in my clinical practice (for student teaching). The days are longer because of block scheduling (we use a 4 by 4 model) and students spend their day in only four classes per semester. THe classes last about 90 minutes per period and I know students walk away energized and not done learning some days- other days, they look a little shell shocked as they move from class to class.
This leads into the changes and strategies I want to implement in my own future experience. I mentioned earlier that I felt validated after reading this blog post and I do feel that way. I feel the following changes the veteran teacher would make would benefit all students- block schedule or not. She lists:
This post is in fact sobering and would make any educator wonder how effective this really is in reaching learning goals like “develop critical thinking skills” “analyze texts to make meaning” etc. I feel like this blog will prove to be useful in crafting a classroom and teaching style that benefits student learning and autonomy and plan to hold on to all this great tips for the future.
Check out below to take a read of the article for yourself!
A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned. (2014, October 10). Granted, and…~ thoughts on education by Grant Wiggins. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/a-veteran-teacher-turned-coach-shadows-2-students-for-2-days-a-sobering-lesson-learned/
I'm a Teaching Credential Candidate at CSUSM working towards a credential in English and Social Studies/History. Here's where I'll share my thoughts on various articles and videos related to teaching as well as my experiences in the education world.