Teacher Feature #41 – Never Stop Learning

Food for Thought, Reflection, Teacher Feature No Comments »

I first began teaching Mathematics to Grade 7 & 8 students more than 45 years ago. I must admit that I was convinced that all the learning on which my students focused, would be found in the Mathematics textbook that each student was issued  at the start of the school year. Somewhat naively, I thought that the vast majority of the students’ learning would come to a grinding halt over the summer months as the books were forgotten and holidays started.

Today, upon reflection, I realize just how much students learn outside the conventional classroom and just how many opportunities there are to learn over the summer months.

 Learning Over Summer-400x300
Teacher Feature #41 – Unknown – July, 2014

I am convinced that as adults, we should take more time to explore those magical “teachable moments” with the children in our charge. Whether it be … how to catch and fillet a fish, how to throw a football, or how to ride a two-wheeler, these are rare opportunities to teach interesting skills that may be retained long after the student has forgotten, for example, how to solve a quadratic equation.

Learning to downhill ski was important within our family. Although our two boys enjoyed competitive downhill racing in Manitoba, they eagerly looked forward to their school Spring Break holiday in March. This was when our family drove out West to ski in the mountains in Fernie, British Columbia. Our boys often wondered why other Manitoba ski families seemed to always arrive in Fernie before us, although we often left Manitoba on the same day. In that my wife was also a teacher, we often spent time “learning along the way”. Other families might travel in the most direct route between point A and B but we always took side trips to explore other interests. Whether it was exploring the life of the North-West Mounted Police at Fort McLeod, discovering the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, or investigating Canada’s deadliest rock slide at the Frank Slide, our family took advantage of these holiday opportunities to learn more about the history and related stories that may not necessarily have been found in the textbooks that our sons were studying in their respective classrooms.

I think back on these amazing opportunities that our family shared and I know our sons are richer for these additional learning experiences.

Perhaps Jiddu Krishnamurti captured the essence of this “Teacher Feature” when he said:

There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Larger Image: Brian Metcalfe’s Teacher Feature “photostream”
http://www.flickr.com/photos/life-long-learners/

Tagged with: | | | |

Teacher Feature #23 – Good teaching is …

Food for Thought, Teacher Feature No Comments »

My wife and I recently visited our younger son in California. As part of our San Francisco experience, we decided to take a Segway tour through Golden Gate Park. Before we were allowed to take control of this “pogo stick on two-wheels”, we were given thorough safety instructions on how to control this unique device. One of the instructor/leaders provided a rather animated and polished demonstration of the do’s and don’ts when controlling a Segway. It was her performance that sparked my initiative to create this month’s Teacher Feature.

Teacher Feature #23 – Gail Godwin – November, 2012

Part way through the Segway tour, we stopped for a few minutes rest and we had a chance to ask this leader if she had a teaching background. She indicated that, in past, several of her Segway clients had asked if she had a background in theater. Interestingly enough, we were the first to ask if her demonstrated skill-set came from an educational background. She admitted that she did work with special needs students and we all agreed that a significant portion of good teaching is in the theatrics of the delivery style.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Larger Image: Brian Metcalfe’s Teacher Feature “photostream”
http://www.flickr.com/photos/life-long-learners/

Tagged with: | | | | | | | |

Car Stereos, Connectivity and Teaching

Food for Thought, Info, Reflection 2 Comments »

My son sent me this thought-provoking illustration:

It seems like only yesterday that I envied friends who had new car stereos similar to the top image. True, they could now play their favourite CD album while cruising in the car. More importantly, in my mind, was the fact that the car stereo hardware could now play music in mp3 formats. Those, who were somewhat technologically savvy, could create “compilation” CDs containing favourite individual mp3 music tracks from a wide variety of entertainers. I still remember friends who had big binders of “compilation” CDs under the driver’s seat and, when you got into their car, their first question was “Do you have a favourite band?” or “Is there a music genre that you particularly like?”.

Today as Steve Jobs stated … “Your entire music library fits in your pocket”. Whether it be on any portable media player or smart phone, today’s youth just want to know where’s the cable to plug in their personal device into the car’s speaker system.

In fact, even this sought-after cable may be soon disappear with the following technological modification:

I conclude this post with a question to my teaching colleagues. With the rapid development of technology and with so many of our youth “connected” to music, shouldn’t we, as educators, explore how we too can become better connected?

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Tagged with: | | | | | |

UnPlug’d: Meaningful Messages in Education

Food for Thought, Professional Development, Reflection No Comments »

As a new school year begins I pondered over the topic of my first September blog post. Should I research and list various educational activities and resources that teachers could use at the start of a new school year? Would it be beneficial to share how some educators are using Google Docs to set up their classes to collaborate and share online?

No … rather than focus of the “mechanics” of teaching, I decided that I would share some “meaningful messages” in education. I believe that teachers can learn so much from visionary colleagues who are willing to share short, focused messages that are supported by poignant and passionate videos. For three days in August, 37 innovative educators from across Canada, who use technology in creative ways to engage their students and enhance their professional careers, actively participated in an UnPlug’d Canadian Educational Summit. By unplugging from their highly networked personal and professional lives, these passionate educators were asked to focus on what matters most in teaching and learning.

Manitoba was well represented by the following six innovative educators:

Participants were challenged to reflect on their educational experience and arrive at this unique professional development session with a short, 250 word story entitled “Why ‘blank’ matters!” At UnPlug’d, participants shared their educational stories, gained feedback, and through peer collaboration these stories were edited and improved so that they might be shared as a powerful online document. These printed stories, together with poignant, supporting story-telling videos, are being shared throughout September at: http://www.unplugd.ca/unplugd11.html

The week of September 26, 2011 has been set as a target deadline for the final online publication to be released in ePub and PDF formats. I encourage readers to review the currently available multimedia products and submit comments (at the bottom of this post) regarding which documents and/or videos had special meaning.

I can guarantee that readers will find a story and/or video which will resonate with them and, should they choose to take action, will help them become a better teacher.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Credit: Flickr Image “UnPlug’d 2011 Delegate Photo” by unplugd
http://www.flickr.com/photos/unplugd/6027365839/

Additional Resources:

Tagged with: | | | | |

‘Survivor’ – Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast

Food for Thought, Humour 2 Comments »

Have you heard about the next planned “Survivor” show?

Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in an elementary school classroom for 1 school year.  Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school district’s curriculum, and a class of 20-25 students.

Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems.

Each business person must complete lesson plans at least 3 days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create their materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. They must also stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor the hallways.

In addition, they will complete fire drills, tornado drills, and [Code Red] drills for shooting attacks each month.

They must attend workshops, faculty meetings,and attend curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their 2 non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the SOLS tests.  If they are sick or having a bad day they must not let it show.

Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times.  If all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be held responsible.

The business people will only have access to the public golf course on the weekends, but with their new salary, they may not be able to afford it.  There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to thirty minutes, which is not counted as part of their work day.  The business people will be permitted to use a student restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class.

If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before, or after, school. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies.  The business people must continually advance their education, at their expense and on their own time.

The winner of this Season of Survivor will be allowed to return to their job.

Pass this to your friends who think teaching is easy and to the ones that know it is hard.

Take care & keep smiling :-)

Credits:
– Anecdote forwarded by: Aleda Sloane
– Remixed Flickr image “Outwit Outplay Outlast” by Thomas Hawk
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/4629130046/

Tagged with: | | | | | |

WP Theme & Icons by N.Design Studio
Entries RSS Comments RSS Log in