I’ve heard it said before that it’s not enough to replace VHS with YouTube, or blackboards with IWBs. It’s just digital substitution, and it’s considered better practice to do something with the help of technology that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. And yet – original use doesn’t always mean deeper learning, and this interview at EdSurge.com takes things further: there is advice about redesigning edutech activities so that they actually move our students closer to deep learning: how to encourage meaningful dialogue, achieve meaningful work, make the learning experience authentic. Interesting!
This blog post from Bright Classroom Ideas contains a useful checklist to engage the emotional side of young learners when planning or teaching a lesson. The author addresses the text mostly to parents, so you will see phrases like ‘your kid’ – just add the plural 🙂 There are 15 great ideas: from singing-clapping-dancing to engaging their inner rebel. And the most amazing advice: think of a topic as if it was a superhero and find its superpower. Hmm, what would the superpower of the Present Perfect be?
Here is an interesting article to consider: Julio Vieitas from RichmondShare is talking about adult learners and what makes them different (and sometimes difficult). Yes, they are not ‘empty vessels‘ and have previous experience that can affect their attitudes to learning. They need real-life skills and they need to understand what exactly they are being taught. All this seems common teaching sense – but do we think about this often enough, and do we help our adult learners the way they need to be helped?
Do you know why we love writing our own activities even when there’s no time for lesson planning? I’ve found the answer on The Teacher Habits by Paul Murphy: when we write our own materials, we tend to overestimate their value, just like people who buy furniture from IKEA like it more because they had to build it themselves. Paul calls this ‘the IKEA effect’, which apparently is a psychological term denoting a type of cognitive bias. We love the fruit of our labour, so to say – even if the quality of published materials (or the activities in the teacher’s book) is better.
Do you remember this cool book called ‘Teach like a pirate’? Well, Dave Burgess, the author, is not alone: there’s a group of innovative educators who write books, speak and generally inspire teachers and learners. These two books in particular seem exciting: The Path to Serendipity and The Princes of Serendip by Allyson Apsey. The former is about life, the universe and everything – how you can find joy in lucky and beautiful moments (that’s what I got from the blurbs, but the book is now on my Kindle). If the first book is for adults trying to make sense of their life, the other one is its companion for children, instilling the same values through a story with pictures. And now I really want them both 🙂
Why I’m telling you all this? Just to ask if you have any thoughts about serendipity and if it has any place in your classroom or workplace. Are you one of those princes on the journey to Serendip? Do you want your learners to be?
Warning: this is a rather touchy-feely post, and it’s not really about grammar rules! Nevertheless, I think it builds quite nicely on the idea of Do-Nothing Teaching, and the questions the writer asks are very close to my heart. It’s actually a book summary, and it seems that the whole book is a worthwhile read. Call me an idealist, but isn’t this a great quote?
“When you follow Must every day, you impact not only what you create for your work, but also who you become in your life. This is how your work and your life become one and the same.”
That said, you can also use the article for extra noticing practice with higher-level students 🙂
P.S. My ‘Listening to now’ widget has stopped working, so here is a nice song I got stuck on as an illustration:
This concept has resurfaced in my little Internet neck-of-the woods recently, and it makes me wonder: how often do we do too much in the classroom just because we can, or because we think we should? Wouldn’t it be better sometimes to stop and wait to see what really needs to be done? I found this series of posts on an extinct blog and was really inspired by how the writer applies this idea to everything from his own teaching to teacher training and mentoring. Once, when he was giving a talk at a conference, he asked the audience to do absolutely nothing for 2 minutes! Do read on for stories like that one, and for very interesting reflections.
For my own part, I’m planning to sit down and do absolutely nothing for as long as 5 minutes when I come home tonight – and you?