Thursday, May 18, 2017

Please Stop Saying it, part 6

Things we really need you to stop saying, part 6.

Fun Fact:
"What you get out of it depends on what you put into it."

I'm their teacher, not their counselor. I agree that I can't be an asshole, but I'm here to teach and they're here to listen, learn, practice, contribute.

Otherwise, don't go to college.

"They won't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

We really need you to stop saying that.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Things We're really going to Need you to Stop Saying, 5b

part 5, update:

It's a goddam supercomputer. Why don't you just put it to use?
  • Look things up.
  • Calculator. If you turn the calculator sideways, it becomes a scientific calculator.
  • Desmos.
  • Formative Quizzes.
Then, they can put it aside and you can be a normal teacher with your worksheets. (I'm not being sarcastic. There's nothing wrong with worksheets for practicing a skill in isolation.)

The phone is just a TOOL. Use it for a purpose. Students need to experience when to use a TOOL and when not to. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Things We're Going to Need You To Stop Saying, part 5

False Dichotomy, aka. Twitter Broadside

Education seems to be full of these things, but perhaps they're in every business and I'm only paying attention to education. You see them often, pithy statements that fit into 140 characters by eliminating all the gray area and reducing everything to black or white extremes of "The Right Way" vs "What You're Doing". Often well-meaning but ultimately harmful:

If your exam questions can be googled, then you're asking the wrong questions.

Google is useful for information, less so for understanding. Googling the answer doesn't "show your work" and, given the nature of the Internet, isn't particularly trustworthy.

If kids in your class are more engaged by a fidget spinner than they are by your lesson, the spinner isn't the problem. Your lesson is.

Learning is hard. Kids fidget. Fads come, then go. Your lesson doesn't suck simply because two kids out of 25 are fiddling with this thing.

If your exam questions are multiple choice, then you aren't asking the right questions in the right way.

There's always a place for quick, multiple choice questions, even on summative assessments.

If your exam questions only use integers then they aren't Real World(tm) Questions.
If your exam questions require a calculator, then you're asking the wrong questions.

Integral answers allow students to show their work, are useful to the learning process because the arithmetic is secondary to the learning. Integral answers can also encourage students to search for different solution methods. Decimal answers that require a calculator are great for Real-World data but Real-World data is often confusing and isn't usually appropriate during the learning process. Learn first, then use the learning. Calculators make guessing too easy and encourage kids to waste time with it.

If you are asking questions at all, then your students aren't agents of their own education. 

This is just silly. Teachers are there to teach. Sometimes the students "lead" the class down the carefully prepared road through the weeds ... but the teacher has laid the groundwork for that.

I am really tired of this nonsense. These blanket statements that reduce the complex world we teach in to just two colors (what you're doing and the right way) are unnecessarily reductive. It encourages simple-minded extremist fads that wither away after a couple of years of damage to children's education.

It's a false dichotomy and we're really going to need you to stop saying it.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Repoped Search

Just what is a Repoped Search anyway?

Assuming its for a teacher ...

Ah, yes. I always wanted that job, but I wonder why no one has noticed it yet? It doesn't make applying there very appealing.
"Windsor Schools, in Windsor, Vermont is in search of a high school Geometry teacher to join our middle and high school math department, beginning July 1, 2017. Windsor Schools is a PreK-12 educational facility and implements the Eureka Math Program across all grade levels. All candidates must have a current Vermont Educator's License. Experience and familiarity with the following is preferred:
-Universal Design for Learning
-Habits of Learning and Vermont's Transferrable Skills
-Effective Communication and Collaboration

Perhaps a candidate with proofreading skills, as well?