How do we create great teachers?

Paying attention, having students engaged and motivated to learn.  Yes, these are what great teachers do for learners.  A TED talks video by Bill Gates goes over how we can create better teachers.

 “Education is the most important thing to get right… ” Bill Gates.

Teachers talking about teaching; discussing what worked and what didn’t work.  Videotaping themselves and showing good techniques–Studying and crafting the teaching profession is a sure fire way to get students learning and improve academic success.

Incidentally enough, this relates to Dr. John Hattie’s work on Visible Learning.  He states in his 8 mindframes the simple solution to being an effective teacher: Know thy impact.  Evaluating your work and intervening in ways that help students progress and change their thinking is when you know you’ve done good.

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Answer my question with another question…

Socrates was onto something when he began using critical thinking as a way to probe into his students’ minds.  Socratic Questioning or Socratic Method is an instructional strategy that teachers can use to delve deep into the learner’s beliefs and opinions about things.  I discovered this neat youtube video that gives you the low-down on this method:

Why is it a good tool?  You can have in-depth and stimulating discussions with your class about the topic of your choice.  Also, you will be motivating the learner to express themselves as clearly and carefully as possible.  Remember, as the teacher you need to provide a safe and positive learning environment to maximize this strategy.

I must admit that I haven’t used this strategy in my own classroom, but the mark of a good teacher begins with taking risks!

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Learning about what I’m learning…

The British Columbia’s teachers strike is over and school starts today. BC’s kids will be learning again! So, in the spirit of learning I decided to post about what I have been learning 2 weeks into my Instructional Strategies course. I was finishing up my journal entry for my class when I found this; here is an article written by a professor at Stanford University that elaborates on motivation and learning. Thought it was fitting considering our first couple of chapters in Barkley’s Student Engagement Techniques book (2009).

I am learning new knowledge about student engagement and how this impacts my role as an instructor. Also, I feel compelled now to utilize strategies to catch drifters in my classroom and keep them enthusiastic about course content. This article points offers some ideas to keep that momentum going in the classroom from offering timely and frequent feedback to making use of students’ background knowledge. Being the “sage on stage” now has new meaning for me, after learning about engagement and active learning–I think I need to also be the “backstage sage,”-setting up the learning environment and making it so that the students show up, participate and stay engaged.

Click on the link to be redirected to the article. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.stanford.edu%2Fdept%2FCTL%2Fcgi-bin%2Fdocs%2Fnewsletter%2Fmotivation_to_learn.pdf&ei=m9kfVIjVCca7igK54YDICQ&usg=AFQjCNE2oYYBXjJZ3pNqEkZxDf1MRWPRQA&sig2=gzbzScsjsqx9t7UA7kiLfQ&bvm=bv.75775273,d.cGE

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Theory that is Bloomin’ funny…

Where would we be without Dr. B. Bloom’s domains of learning? I am not a Seinfeld fan by any means, however, I do use humor here and there in my lesson plans to lighten things up. I came across this funny video that brings Bloom’s Taxonomy to life and touches on areas of knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Have a peak or use it for your own lesson plans to explain Bloom’s Action Verbs.

Adding the element of laughter into a lesson plan can be considered an instructional strategy. Should you be a funny teacher? Would you use humour in the classroom as an instructional strategy?

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Focused Conversation: Fact Sheet – Talking Together

The PID program constantly reminds me of the importance of capturing learning as it happens and how this relates to my own teaching.  Key thing is to use Focused Conversation to drag these thoughts and feelings out.  Learn more about this and use it in your own classroom to add extra oomph.

http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/aswt/talkingtogether/facilitated_art_of_focused_conversation_fact_sheet.html

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Beginning Steps…

Thanks for dropping by!  This will be my very first blog and I am so excited to share thoughts and feelings with you in the upcoming weeks.  Stay tuned.

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