Good News, Bad News

Students Love Technology

So, the good news is that Twitter can help students boost their grades. The bad news is that many students are device-o-holics.

Or perhaps it’s all bad news. Perhaps it’s just that students without Twitter lose marks because the Delirium Tremens they are wrestling with after being told they can’t use their phones makes it harder for the poor lambs to focus on the test in front of them.

They’re wonderful things, out-of-context statistics.

Why one should thank students

This is beautifully put, I think. An old Chinese teacher explained to Richard Gerver why he taught in such a calm, cheerful way. The answer was:

“Every day, I stand in front of these young people, their faces full of expectation and hope, their energy radiating across the stale air of this room, and as I look across at them, I think to myself, somewhere in this room could be the person who finds the cure for cancer, the solution to world peace, could be the person who writes the next great symphony that moves mankind. There could be a future leader, doctor, nurse, teacher, Olympic champion. I don’s know, but what I do know is that they are out there and it is my job to identify and nurture that talent, not just for their own benefit but for possible the benefit of others. Is there any greater responsibility or opportunity than that? I am blessed, that is why I thank them.”

I’ve put this up on a wall in my classroom with a space where students can let me know how I can become a better teacher. The first suggestion was “Give us more chocolate”. The second was “Give us an outline of the whole year first rather than bit by bit please”. Which is a great idea, and one I’m guilty of not doing enough of.

Letting students choose their studies

Clarence Fisher has an interesting idea. While admitting that a curriculum constrains much of what can be taught, he suggests that within those constraints there’s room to let student’s build their own “Everything is Miscellaneous”-style piles of leaves.

What if we started the entire school year off with outcomes listed on cards which the kids could move around and organize into structures of study that were more meaningful and helpful for them? Several days spent categorizing and forming personal or small group knowledge structures, setting a course for the next few weeks or months ahead would be much more meaningful to students than us imposing a taxonomy of information upon them. It would make the knowledge, the information, the learning that needed to happen become theirs.”