faculty

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Textbooks are full of useful information and handy to have around when you need to look up a fact. Memorizing facts is not as important as knowing how to ask questions and how to synthesize information to formulate an answer.

When we plan out our courses—and our entire curriculum—we should keep this in mind: How much of the information that we are going to cover do the students really need to know? How much time do we devote to making sure students know when they need a fact and how to look it up? Finally, and most important, do our students know what to do with the facts once they find them?

Why Don’t We Teach the Telephone Book?

Four Activities to Jump-Start Teamwork Among Teachers and School Leaders

While it’s important to select team members with the right skills, it’s even more important to build, maintain and grow these skills over time. To do that, what if teachers and school leaders followed the example set by successful sports coaches? “Start-of-the-season” practice sessions and ongoing activities built into their work could be a way to jump-start and deepen team creativity, problem-solving and innovation skills.

image via flickr:CC | FailedImitator High-res

Four Activities to Jump-Start Teamwork Among Teachers and School Leaders

While it’s important to select team members with the right skills, it’s even more important to build, maintain and grow these skills over time. To do that, what if teachers and school leaders followed the example set by successful sports coaches? “Start-of-the-season” practice sessions and ongoing activities built into their work could be a way to jump-start and deepen team creativity, problem-solving and innovation skills.

image via flickr:CC | FailedImitator

Group Work Challenge: Assessing Team Members

Are these the best and worst states for teachers?

The WalletHub Web site looked at data to determine the states that they call the “teacher friendliest states in the country.”
In the new “teacher friendly” rankings, here’s what’s not included: information on whether states have preserved job protections for teachers, or whether teachers are fairly evaluated, or whether under-prepared Teach For America corps members are replacing veteran teachers, or  the overall impact of corporate-based school reform on the teaching profession.
So are these rankings really showing the “teacher-friendliest” states?  Not so much.
High-res

Are these the best and worst states for teachers?

The WalletHub Web site looked at data to determine the states that they call the “teacher friendliest states in the country.”

In the new “teacher friendly” rankings, here’s what’s not included: information on whether states have preserved job protections for teachers, or whether teachers are fairly evaluated, or whether under-prepared Teach For America corps members are replacing veteran teachers, or  the overall impact of corporate-based school reform on the teaching profession.

So are these rankings really showing the “teacher-friendliest” states?  Not so much.

Students Riding on Coattails during Group Work? Five Simple Ideas to Try
Design a group project in which the students work in phases.
Develop an element of the project that allows group members to make their own choices.
Within a group project, include a component requiring individual students to submit non-onerous individual work.
Devote a segment (30 minutes or so) during class before all group projects begin to implement two important steps.
Prepare students to expect the unexpected.
High-res

Students Riding on Coattails during Group Work? Five Simple Ideas to Try

  1. Design a group project in which the students work in phases.
  2. Develop an element of the project that allows group members to make their own choices.
  3. Within a group project, include a component requiring individual students to submit non-onerous individual work.
  4. Devote a segment (30 minutes or so) during class before all group projects begin to implement two important steps.
  5. Prepare students to expect the unexpected.
Helping Students to Be Comfortable with NOT Knowing [ACTIVITY]

If we aren’t “comfortable with not knowing”, there’s no chance that we will ever truly embrace questioning because questioning is an inherently vulnerable act — particularly in environments where being successful is synonymous with “having the right answer.” So I whipped up a handout that I plan to use whenever we are studying a new topic.

Keep reading about how to try this activity! High-res

Helping Students to Be Comfortable with NOT Knowing [ACTIVITY]

If we aren’t “comfortable with not knowing”, there’s no chance that we will ever truly embrace questioning because questioning is an inherently vulnerable act — particularly in environments where being successful is synonymous with “having the right answer.” So I whipped up a handout that I plan to use whenever we are studying a new topic.

Keep reading about how to try this activity!

Most teachers will say that there’s very little time in the day for reflecting, and I agree with them. But I still make sure that I find time to reflect because it’s too important to put by the wayside. All educators need time in their day to reflect and think about the different ways they can be better. We ask this of our students, so why shouldn’t we do the same?

The Reflective Teacher: Taking a Long Look

You are not your favorite teacher.

itsssnix:

Can I just repeat this to anyone who is planning on being a teacher/student teaching/beginning to teach?

You are not your favorite teacher.

Most of us, if we were sitting around a living room, would be able to talk a lot about our absolute favorite teachers. We’d hear all kinds of stories that make us cry and laugh and feel inspired. I know, I’ve got plenty of them myself.

But if you listened carefully to those stories, you’d notice something: there is no “mold” for the ideal teacher.

Some of our favorite teachers were the tough, no-nonsense teachers that didn’t smile until Christmas and gave out As sparingly. And Lord knows those teachers would never be caught dead putting a smiley face on a paper. We’d share how that B we got on a research paper made us feel like a rockstar.

Others of us would tell stories of teachers whose classes were filled with activities and fun, games and puzzles and collaborative learning. We’d tell of elementary teachers who handed out gold stars liberally and made us feel like champions.

And still others would share of a teacher who listened to them when they were down, had tea in their room for the rough days, and who let everyone listen to music while they did independent work. That teacher’s room was a peaceful, quiet, safe place where each student was gently encouraged and deeply cared for.

[Of course, there are a thousand iterations I’m leaving out, but you get the point]

These were stellar teachers, all of them. You may be a teacher today because of your favorite teacher. But let me say it again, you are not your favorite teacher.

Sure, there may be great tips and methods that you use in your classroom. You may have classroom traditions started by those great educators. But you are not them.

I wish all day long that I could be one of those really tough teachers that is academically rigorous and tough and shows. no. mercy. We have these incredible teachers here that are champions at teaching that the kids love…but man are those teachers high in their expectations. I wish I could be like them.

But I’m not. I’m the teacher that stands in the student section at games and has hammock days and will let anyone come and cry on my couch when they get broken up with. I’m the teacher that “does it for the Vine” and has tests that are only 2 pages long. I know my students are learning great things because I hear them share those things with each other or get excited Tweets months later because they hear something we talked about in class. But they don’t remember how they learned it or when.

I used to spend a lot of my time trying to be both, but when I did I ended up not being either and just stressing myself out. It was only when I stopped asking “how should I do this?” and started asking “how should I do this?” that I settled [more] into my teaching shoes.

We all have a ways to go. I still could be a way better teacher than I am now. But if I could give myself advice [and you also, young(er) teacher], I’d repeat the advice of Socrates: “know thyself.” And in doing so, hopefully you and  will become some of our students’ favorite teachers.

Raising smart decision-makers

Financial literacy isn’t just teaching kids about money, according to Nan Morrison, president and chief executive officer at the Council for Economic Education. Children need to learn how to make smart decisions in addition to understanding money. SmartBrief talked with Morrison about her organization’s plans and resources for shaping the way kids learn.

image via flickr:CC | West Virginia Blue High-res

Raising smart decision-makers

Financial literacy isn’t just teaching kids about money, according to Nan Morrison, president and chief executive officer at the Council for Economic Education. Children need to learn how to make smart decisions in addition to understanding money. SmartBrief talked with Morrison about her organization’s plans and resources for shaping the way kids learn.

image via flickr:CC | West Virginia Blue

How do you encourage a growth mindset in your school or classroom?

mscarmenb:

I tell my students about the scaffolds I have in place and why I try to put things in an order in the first place. They ask lots of questions about why we’re doing this or that, and I get to tell them about their brains getting new information by playing around with it in different dimensions - with their bodies, their writing, their words, etc. - in a social environment. That’s why we do particular warm ups when we’re trying to achieve certain goals during a lesson, and why the warm ups change and evolve as our goals get more challenging. 

We also talk about how learning is like lifting weights (you don’t just go to the gym and stare at the weights! you have to lift them and sweat and be sore and want to give up and get thru it to get swol!) I love my job - theatre is a wonderful discipline to experiment with growth mindset because of its historic recognition as a craft and lifelong practice.