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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Words of wisdom

Footnotes: As a teacher… from David Truss's blog

Thanks for sharing these thoughts David - I know I will be referring back to them regularly for reassurance when I am 'back in the classroom' next term. It is helpful to have like minded colleagues supporting this approach to teaching and learning, it is not always easy when you feel you are on your own with this one, and hard to imagine with the technology we now have at hand that so many continue to act as if they can continue to teach AND ASSESS in their time honoured traditional ways.

I guess you could say that at times I too have ‘acted my way into a new way of thinking’. My actions as a learner influenced my actions as a teacher, as these footnotes suggest.

¹ As a teacher, I don’t take any marks off for something coming in late. It is my job to make sure that students demonstrate their learning and meet the learning outcomes during the year. All time lines within the year are arbitrary (and usually teacher determined) and not a requirement worthy of penalty. Exceptions may be made where either Personal Planning or Goal Setting are part of the outcomes.

² As a teacher, I am very vocal about students needing to speak up and ask questions. “Don’t be a Marshmallow!” was a saying that I took from my Grade 10 English teacher Mr. La Point who used it to symbolize placid students sitting in his class and choosing not to speak up. At first being called Marshmallows in my class was funny, but soon students would catch on that they were not meeting expectations when they were being Marshmallows!

³ As a teacher my response to ‘how long does this assignment need to be?’ has always been, “It needs to be as long as it needs to be.” Students hate this answer, but after a while they get it. In a nutshell: I’ve read three brilliant sentences that have said more than three long-winded paragraphs.

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