Friday, December 31, 2010

Missing from conversations--

Last Conversation Piecephoto © 2008 Cliff | more info (via: Wylio)Recent discussions of effective and highly qualified teachers--

Walt Gardner's, Is subject matter expertise enough for successful teaching-- in which he concludes that teachers in some schools need to engage their students--

The Answer Sheet ,one of many posts, chronicling Congressional action to permit alternative-route teachers to be considered highly qualified-- most notable those involved in Teach for America

Something is missing from so many conversations--

Two powerful components essential to good learning in our everchanging learning landscape--

Understanding deeply how people learn--

"deep knowledge about the processes and practices or methods of teaching and learning and how it encompasses (among other things) overall educational purposes, values and aims. This is a generic form of knowledge that is involved in all issues of student learning, classroom management, lesson plan development and implementation, and student evaluation. It includes knowledge about techniques or methods to be used in the classroom; the nature of the target audience; and strategies for evaluating student understanding. A teacher with deep pedagogical knowledge understands how students construct knowledge and acquire skills; develop habits of mind and positive dispositions towards learning. As such, pedagogical knowledge requires an understanding of cognitive, social and developmental theories of learning and how they apply to students in their classroom."
Deep profound pedagogical knowledge, theories of learning--- knowledge that becomes internalized and conditionalized--

That then is fused with content knowledge in a sweet spot that adds an additional dimension to teacher knowledge-- a dimension in which teachers are competent in "the ways of representing and formulating the subject that make it comprehensible to others" (Shulman, 1986, p. 9).
“[T]he idea is grasped, probed, and comprehended by a teacher, who then must turn it about in his or her mind, seeing many sides of it. Then the idea is shaped or tailored until it can in turn be grasped by students.” (Shulman, 1987, p. 13).
It is a dimension where we need to consider our students, their abilities and talents. We need to consider the unique pedagogical strategies specific to a discipline; for example, paideia in the language arts, multiple representations in mathematics, or inquiry in science. We need to consider how to organize the content for our students in a way that honors the discipline and our students’ current knowledge.

And the second, an insightful grasp of the affordances for learning offered by current technologies--

“Good teaching is not simply adding technology to the existing teaching and content domain. Rather,the introduction of technology causes the representation of new concepts and requires developing a sensitivity to the dynamic, transactional relationship" (Kohler & Mishra, 2005, p. 134)between the technology, content, and pedagogy.

The legions of teachers who have elevated their practice and the learning of their students through collaboration and intense professional learning to make use of conditionalized content, pedagogical, content knowledge to add another dimension to their own learning and and that of their students-- those are the effective, qualified teachers--

Our students deserve no less than these--

From this computer, I'm continuing to engage in these conversations, nudging, pushing, and if need be, more assertively agitating for a more inclusive, more meaningful perspective on effective teaching and learning. What about you?


Koehler, M., & Mishra, P. (2005). What happens when teachers design educational technology? The development of technological pedagogical content knowledge. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 32(2), 131-152.

Shulman, L. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.

Shulman, L. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 1-22.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

One drop--

One drop of water helps to swell the oceanphoto © 2009 Ygor Oliveira | more info (via: Wylio)

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
--Ryunosuke Satoro

One drop, then another
We can become an ocean
Changing learning

First drop--
Learning more about student passions

My sincere thank you goes to Ewan McIntosh for his post in which he quoted Marc Prensky on passions and learning.

From this brief audio file---

Then these words--
If you don't know what the passions of those in front of you are then you'll never know how to teach the people in front of you.

If you don’t know what your students passions are then you basically don’t know who is sitting in front of you and that makes teaching at a really deep level, I think difficult. Its never 30 separate passions its typically clusters of passions so one thing that you can do is to put people into clusters

There ought to be times in a day, maybe the days that a substitute teacher comes in when what you say to kids is ‘your job today, is to just learn more about what you are passionate in’ and it may have nothing to do with our curriculum but it is still important because you are going to find it valuable.
If every teacher tomorrow or the next school day takes twenty minutes out of the day and says to every student ‘what are you passionate about?’ and writes it down and then thinks about it in the back of their mind how they can use that, education will be much improved overnight.

One drop to improve education-- listen more to our students, learn their passions, and make more of those connections in the learning experiences we design for them.

If we each begin with this one drop, imagine the ocean--

Then what is the next drop that can make a difference?