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Old 09-22-2011, 07:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
Learning can take place in ANY of these formats. Embedding lessons into functional activities is not "not concentrating on teaching." I can use essentially ANY format available to me to present information for student learning. It might be standing up in front of a class giving a lecture, or it might not be.

Creativity in teaching does not = "bad," as long as there IS, in fact, teaching of the lessons going on. I wouldn't assume that because an activity looks like (horror of horrors!!!!) students are enjoying it, that nothing is being taught or learned.

Getting the intended lesson across is what matters, not the format in which it is done. If you're talking about activities that are done in lieu of teaching, that's one thing, but there are PLENTY of ways to teach effectively while using a game, a creative activity, a role-play scenario, a hands-on project, an entire group of interconnected activities.

If the intended objectives are getting across, they're more likely to be retained if they're in some way meaningful to the learner (whether that's because they're entertaining, because they're interesting, because they allow the student to use some practical skill, whatever). Lessons don't HAVE to be structured as punishment (Here, kids! You'll sit in your desks silently and copy spelling words over by rote for 25 minutes, and LIKE IT!!!!) to be effective.

While I tend to agree with everything you say, I still feel teachers shouldn't have to be entertainers. My DD and her friends were complaining about this year's science teacher, how she was so boring. I told the kids she really isn't there to entertain, she's there to teach, and they are there to learn. Give the teacher a break, realize teaching is much harder than it looks from the "audience". The teacher has 45 min to teach a class, help her out by being on time, have your stuff together the minute the bell rings, don't intrrupt or disrupt, and remember, its only 45 min of your life! This isn't a social encounter.
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryleeII View Post
While I tend to agree with everything you say, I still feel teachers shouldn't have to be entertainers. My DD and her friends were complaining about this year's science teacher, how she was so boring. I told the kids she really isn't there to entertain, she's there to teach, and they are there to learn. Give the teacher a break, realize teaching is much harder than it looks from the "audience". The teacher has 45 min to teach a class, help her out by being on time, have your stuff together the minute the bell rings, don't intrrupt or disrupt, and remember, its only 45 min of your life! This isn't a social encounter.
This is absolutely true. Thank you.

When my students complain that a particular lesson is boring, I tell them they should go to the movies if they want entertainment. One student wrote on his information sheet that he wanted me to entertain him. Somehow, many kids think that their day should move from one form of entertainment to another. They lose the ability to focus for more than a few minutes at a time.

Personally, I think it is a useful skill to be able to sit still and listen attentively for hours at a time. On in-service days, I notice a lot of my colleagues haven't mastered it. I can, and that skill serves me well. I can make myself pay attention and learn even when I am tired. If kids never practice that skill, they will definitely lock themselves out of education and jobs where it is a prerequisite.
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:19 PM
 
9,463 posts, read 15,037,563 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhpartridge View Post
This is absolutely true. Thank you.

When my students complain that a particular lesson is boring, I tell them they should go to the movies if they want entertainment. One student wrote on his information sheet that he wanted me to entertain him. Somehow, many kids think that their day should move from one form of entertainment to another. They lose the ability to focus for more than a few minutes at a time.

Personally, I think it is a useful skill to be able to sit still and listen attentively for hours at a time. On in-service days, I notice a lot of my colleagues haven't mastered it. I can, and that skill serves me well. I can make myself pay attention and learn even when I am tired. If kids never practice that skill, they will definitely lock themselves out of education and jobs where it is a prerequisite.

Oh, but sadly, its how we've trained kids in the early years of education. Play time is confused with education. Although one can certainly learn from an engaging and entertaining teacher, one shouldn't come to expect it. I've had some rather dull and boring teachers in school that I learned a lot from,.

And like I told my kids, come on---teachers don't get paid to be all things to all people! an educator, along with baby sitter, counselor, entertainer, etc, etc.......if you're bored, then just sit there, doodle, or look out the window if you can't concentrate, but don't interfere with the teacher and other students. IMO, that's why so many kids are on ADD meds nowadays, they are only responding to how they are conditioned to be, then, it gets to be too much for a classroom, and the teacher simply can't say "sit down and shut up" (oh, they said that in my day, but can't now,teachers are ow supposed to be counselors, too). So, everyone gets to be on ADD pills, then write IEP's for everyone, then blame the hapless teacher for not catering to everyone's quirks.

Instead, every quirk is now a disability, protected by ADA, etc. Such an insult to those with "real" disabilities who struggle just to tread water in this world!
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:23 PM
 
Location: California
178 posts, read 283,075 times
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Parents need to step up and give clear expectations to there children. In elementary school it is to sit, behave and listen. The parents need to know what is going on in the class room. If you work, communicate thru email to stay up to date. Know when tests are so your child is prepared and knows that you know about all test. Parents need to talk to their kids about there day. Know whats going on before its too late and they don't want to talk to you about anything. In High school expect grades that you know they can achieve. If they are doing poorly take activities or sports away until the grades are back up. If your child's education isn't a priority to you, it won't be for them. The teachers are only with your children for 6 hours with an additional 20 plus. The parents are with them morning, evenings, weekends, and all breaks.
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:41 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,726,300 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryleeII View Post
While I tend to agree with everything you say, I still feel teachers shouldn't have to be entertainers. My DD and her friends were complaining about this year's science teacher, how she was so boring. I told the kids she really isn't there to entertain, she's there to teach, and they are there to learn. Give the teacher a break, realize teaching is much harder than it looks from the "audience". The teacher has 45 min to teach a class, help her out by being on time, have your stuff together the minute the bell rings, don't intrrupt or disrupt, and remember, its only 45 min of your life! This isn't a social encounter.
Would you please send that message to my kids.

Today was frustrating. First lab reports were due. I've told them every day what they should include. Guess what they spent the first 5 minutes of class doing? Shuffling through papers to find all the pieces. I'm thinking I'm going to tell them to turn them in at the end of class after the bell rings. Maybe they'll be more efficient with their time if it's THEIR time.

As to teachers being entertainers, in this day and age of high resolution graphics, it's not possible for us to compete with what kids are used to. I do fewer demos than I'd like because most of my kids are non plussed with them. They've seen way more exciting stuff on TV. Short of blowing up the building, I don't think I could impress them. I do demos for my "lower level" kids because they think they're cool and I can discuss a lot of chemistry while I'm doing them but they're a different breed of student. They're not there for the grade and they want the class to not be boring and they're not so worried about what their peers think so they'll say something was interesting instead of pretending it was boring.

It's amazing the difference in response I get form my classes. My "upper level" class was semi impressed with the genie in the bottle but couldn't have cared less about the bottle shrinking. My "lower level" class was puzzled about the bottle and very curious as to what polymers are and why it shrank. For them, I can explain warm polymers by comparing them to semi wet spaghetti you can stretch and mold then dry in place and cold polymers as dried spaghetti. If you warm it up again (wet it), it loses it's shape. That would get eye rolls in my "upper level" class...and yes, those kids complain that I'm boring.
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:03 PM
 
4,044 posts, read 5,949,868 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhpartridge View Post
When my students complain that a particular lesson is boring...
I didn't even get a chance to take the game cards out of the plastic bag and one of the kids at the table said: "I am soooooo boooored!!".

Sometimes it makes you wonder what is UP with this epidemic of boredom among kids in this generation. They cannot tolerate even one stimuli-free moment.

I hear this sometimes from my 6 yo though I never allow him to dwell on it.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:12 PM
 
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Growing up, I learned how to behave in different places and situations from my mother and those around me. My mother taught me how to behave in church, at the store, on the playground, at other's homes, etc. Each situation has acceptable and unacceptable behavior, and these behaviors can differ immensely. Whenever with me my mother reminded me how to behave. Naturally, I learned to follow the behaviors of others around me as well.

What my mother did NOT do is teach me how to behave in school; my teachers did! Why? Because my mother was not at school with me! Yes, she reminded me often to do what the teacher says, but I learned to sit quietly during instruction because the teacher demanded it. I learned to rise whenever the principal entered the room and greet him/her with a "good morning mr./mrs. Principal from my teacher.

I learned it was unacceptable to call out without raising my hand from my teacher. I learned not to leave my seat without permission from my teacher.

I am baffled that some believe it is the parent's fault when kids do not follow these rules. You're the teacher, you make the rules in the classroom, you teach the kids how to behave in your classroom, and you need to demand the behavior you expect.

As others have said, I have been in classrooms where the teachers do little to enforce rules, but then go running to the parent that their child is not behaving.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wsop View Post
I am baffled that some believe it is the parent's fault when kids do not follow these rules. You're the teacher, you make the rules in the classroom, you teach the kids how to behave in your classroom, and you need to demand the behavior you expect.

As others have said, I have been in classrooms where the teachers do little to enforce rules, but then go running to the parent that their child is not behaving.
I would agree if I knew teachers had the framework to make their own class rules and to enforce class rules in an authoritative manner without fearing hostility from students and their parents. Instead most of them feel like they have to make sure they won't upset the parents. They know that anything firmer/tougher than a sugary "honey" can be met with serious disapproval on the part of the parents nowadays.

I even remember one parent saying recently that what she liked most was that the teacher is "sweet" and "makes the children feel comfortable".

Nobody seems to think that children may benefit from feeling "slightly less comfortable" in school than what the contemporary general yardstick dictates.

It is the parental mentality that changed dramatically compared to 30-40 decades, not the educators'. The schools only responded to the cultural shift in parenting.
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Old 09-23-2011, 06:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
I would agree if I knew teachers had the framework to make their own class rules and to enforce class rules in an authoritative manner without fearing hostility from students and their parents. Instead most of them feel like they have to make sure they won't upset the parents. They know that anything firmer/tougher than a sugary "honey" can be met with serious disapproval on the part of the parents nowadays.

I even remember one parent saying recently that what she liked most was that the teacher is "sweet" and "makes the children feel comfortable".

Nobody seems to think that children may benefit from feeling "slightly less comfortable" in school than what the contemporary general yardstick dictates.

It is the parental mentality that changed dramatically compared to 30-40 decades, not the educators'. The schools only responded to the cultural shift in parenting.
I have to respectively disagree. Teachers absolutely have the framework to make their own rules in their classrooms, and the better teachers have specific rules/consequences that are consistent, fair and clear to the students.

I do not know any parent who would balk at the idea of a teacher insisting a child raise their hand before speaking or ask permission to leave their seat. Of course, these are just two examples, but you get the idea.

Structure, firmness, clear, consistent rules can all be employed in the classroom while still making a child feel comfortable. In fact, I would argue it is the above that makes the the child feel comfortable.

Yes, I agree some parents are unreasonable, but I would estimate they are in the minority. If a teacher/schools bends the rules because of one or two parents, then they are not doing their job. If a teacher can get at least half the class to in order, the majority of the rest will follow because kids do not want to be different. They will emulate their peers. If he teacher consistently allows students to not follow the rules, the other students will emulate this as well. I am speaking from personal experience, and I WAS a student 40 years ago.

Understand I am talking mostly about elementary school; particularly the primary grades. Kids at that age want nothing more than to please their teachers. By 4th and 5th, peers become more important, but by then most students should have had it drilled into them acceptable classroom behavior. This does not mean the teacher can slack off in this area, but only the the teacher should not have to start from scratch.

I have found the hardest part of being a parent is having clear consistent rules and consistent follow up of consequences. Kids will try to get away with as much as they can. Classroom management is also the toughest part of teaching; the successful teachers do it well, and by doing it well create an environment conducive to learning. Those who don't do it well create chaos.

NOTE: I am not talking here about schools where violence and extreme poverty are the rule rather than the exception. But neither is anyone else in this post discussing such schools.
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Old 09-23-2011, 07:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by wsop View Post
I do not know any parent who would balk at the idea of a teacher insisting a child raise their hand before speaking or ask permission to leave their seat.
I don't either.

But I DO know tons of parents (I would say most!) who would balk at the idea of their child being removed from class and punished in some kind of way for failing to comply after being warned once and twice. In my culture (and generation) you would also have had to deal with the "shaming" factor but again, this would be considered child abuse here. (Things are changing fast there as well, of course).

The teacher can INSIST all she wants about children raising their hands before their speak. So what if she "insists"? The child's subconscious thinks: "and if I don't, then what?". If teachers are not allowed to use a very firm consequence to back up the "insisting", then it means nothing. "Having consistent rules and follow up with consequences" will stay in the realm of theory if parents don't also accept that some of those consequences will be very unpleasant to the child, even scary for some children, to work.

The reality is schools do not allow serious consequences to be enforced after two failures to comply simply because many parents would run at school in outrage about how unfairly their child was treated. This is the parenting climate today: the knee-jerk reaction is to side with offspring as soon as offspring is confronted with anything tougher than a cutzy "no, no, that's not niiiiiice". Most children could not give a rat's... that they will receive a frowny face on the paper (followed by a hug and an assurance that "we still love you even though we gave you a frowny" ).

It is also true that in many cases schools themselves have adopted and believe in this ideology of permissiveness and long leash. In such cases you will have some parents who believe in firm and serious consequence-based discipline but they are constantly receiving messages from school about how they only believe in
"positive discipline" (which invariably means "no discipline") and how you'd better not make your child feel "uncomfortable" in any way or you'll end up being reported to the CPC.

This is what our son's preschool was doing and I must admit I was both offended and angry when they sent in the Parent Handbook.

If I'd stuck with their positive discipline I would have become my children's complete and utter slave by now.
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