Episode-1423- Developing the Skill of Teaching — 20 Comments

  1. Another home run, Jack! A good teacher tells, a better teacher shows, but an excellent teacher inspires.
    Consider scope and sequence. What will you cover, how far you’ll go, and in what order. I like the indigenous people’s way – 1. teachers show and tell, students observe; 2. students apply and gain experience under guidance; 3, rites of passage where students evaluate themselves and self learn about relevance and implications, then 4. use all that to create something more, expanding on the knowledge. Blooms Taxonomy follows this…. Understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create. These are thoughts I had while you were talking. I’ll definitely be sharing today’s word. Thanks.

  2. I also consider Geoff Lawton to be one of my greatest teachers. He combines a very deep subject knowledge and decades of field experience with an incredible enthusiasm and excitement for the subject that is contagious.

  3. The butt hurt postal worker rant was amusing 🙂 I think the butt hurt are understating the % and your probably high… it doesn’t matter… one thief is too many. I hope you are reporting every time there is a theft. Not to your local Post office but directly to the Postal Inspection service

    What you describe is happening at plant level or local Post Office level. Thieves usually do work in teams, like the one that took TSP knives, in order to defeat the security systems. Reports of theft are one of the main ways the inspection service figures out they have a team thieves and can start using alternate more labor intensive methods to break a ring of thieves.

    Yes I work for the Post Office 🙂 Now if someone trash talks about how we are losing money then I’ll show you how the federal government did it too us in 2006 and they have no desire to correct it…. yes even the post office gets hamstrung by government regulations, rules and laws lol


  4. @Modern Survival…Jack, I think there could definitely be interested in the virtual country idea – name that comes to my mind is Peter Thiel. Founder of Paypal, sold Paypal once the authorities made it clear they weren’t going to let him pursue his Libertarian dream through Paypal. He’s also actively talked about creating his own floating Libertarian country out in the ocean.

  5. after teching kids the lost art of bees, one can not teach with out passion, knowledge, and experience about those things. read a book and teach it is not teaching, it is acting.
    you have to be a teacher, walk with your students not run them till they burn out. that is how we lose kids.

  6. Teaching has been an integral part of my learning process for as long as I can remember. When I am trying to learn something, as soon as I gain an understanding of it, I teach it. This has frequently meant teaching it to a wall because I was alone. That’s what got me through my “A” school in the Navy learning electronics.

  7. By the way, I have found Anarchast to be immensely useful for learning about libertarianism and what other people in the movement are worth listening to. And,I will throw some support towards that Sidekick project… That is just the kind of thing we need. I already drive around with a dash can but it doesn’t upload to the cloud nor does it come with a lawyer.

  8. You do need something special to be a great teacher. But it isn’t a certificate, degree. I agree. I just not sure whether anyone can be/willing to be a great teacher. Great teachers care.

    One of the worst teachers I had was a chemistry professor who wrote the book he was teaching from. But in a monotone, and didn’t interact or tell stories. I either fell asleep in class or skipped. So did most of the class. Did my homework, passed barely. He seemed to love chemistry, passionate that he wrote a book. None of us really cared, not sure we wanted to be the test class for the book on paper and if all went well it’d be published. The pre-med students were worried.

    In high school, we had a wonderful social studies teacher. Everyone enjoyed his class and looked forward to it. He talked to us, explained things, asked our opinion, listened, entertained, challenged. A hard act to follow.

    We had a student teacher. I felt sorry for him. He was bright, knew the info, knew teaching strategies but didn’t connect with the students. Our teacher flunked him. He told us about it, told us why, but first asked what we thought about him as a teacher. When we reluctantly said we didn’t really like him (could we really say that, well for this teacher yes), he had us get specific about why. It was hard at first to put it into words, but we got there.

    Bottom line he said the student teacher was very bright and an A student all his life, a nice person. Probably devastated that he got a failing grade. He told us the sad thing was that the next person would pass him because he was “doing everything by the book”. But hopefully the failing grade would get the guy to look for a different vocation. How important it was to have great teachers, and what this guy was missing wasn’t something schools taught. That “they” might not send any more student teachers his way, but he could not pass the guy and live with himself.

    I don’t think any of us forgot the lesson of what makes a good teacher and that we should take action to fight for things we believe in, even if it makes someone feel bad, or if it isn’t what “people” expect us to do.

    In spite of the public school system, there are some awesome teachers still teaching. My youngest daughter loved her chem II teacher’s class. She got excited about chemistry, obsessed over chemistry. Her teacher is old enough to have retired some time ago, but loves teaching. He loves dark chocolate, jumps around on a pogo stick, has a small hoover craft he built, lets them blow things up in class. End of each year he invites the students of his ap classes to his farm for a party. Good food, things to drive (golf carts, 4 wheelers, tractor), things to shoot (arrow, bb’s, rifles, pistols). Both of my youngest daughters have told me how he’d spend a class discussing things such as “What if an armed shooter was in our school? Look around? What can be used as weapons? How could we protect ourselves? ” and have the kids come up with their own solutions and discuss pros and cons.

    Along with the poor teachers: Here is a packet of stuff, learn it and I’ll give you a test on it. Don’t forget to do your hours of homework. I know other teachers are giving you a lot of homework too, but we have to get through all this material so you can pass the test. That is also why we have so many tests and quizzes, so you are ready for the big test. Here is exactly how I want your homework labeled and turned in. I’m also putting you into groups for projects. Everyone in the group will get the same grade.

    All parents are teachers. Kids learn from their parents, good or bad, from our examples. Even after they’ve grown up and are out on their own.

  9. Oh gosh, I don’t know where to start.

    Yes, I do. Self-discovery, empowerment, design, and trust. It’s not just if you taught your child to tie their shoes that makes you a teacher. What about asking, “Did you child learn to walk?” Yes, you were involved, but so was the child. You may have modeled and supported the child in their efforts, but the child is the one who figured out how to balance, build up strength, and how to move their body. Even at that young age, children are educators in their own lives.

    So, self-discovery, empowerment, design, and trust, these are four words that I think are as critical for children as they are for anyone else who is involved in a child’s life because that makes you an educator… and that most definitely includes the child. Yet, how many children think of themselves as a key education facilitator responsible for their learning and life? How many people think out of the box and, if polled, would list non-human elements as teachers? How many think and value community as educator and educator as community? That is how I’m trying to help myself and others is by helping us think of ourselves, connect with one another, and share our knowledge, skills, and resources as a community of learner-educators, which is a community that sees our children as members with intrinsic value that makes every one of us more effective learners and educators.

    Unfortunately, not only do teachers (although most aren’t even aware of it consciously because they don’t want to be) not want parents involved in any way except to reinforce and support what is being taught in school (in terms of academics and behavior), but what wasn’t emphasized as I think it should have been was that most parents don’t want to see themselves as responsible. Both are happy being able to blame the other. The teacher “invites” the parents to sign up for being a class helper for a day and the parent comes in, sits at a desk outside the classroom, and cuts out turkeys for the upcoming Thanksgiving Day party and everyone is happy. Perhaps, the teacher asks for a “room mom” to send out the weekly/monthly newsletter telling parents what their child is learning. Parents say, “Great, now I can tell Grandma what little Jack is learning.” Everyone is happy.

    How often does the teacher inquire about how to incorporate what the child is learning/doing at home into the classroom? Why isn’t there a weekly/monthly newsletter from the parents to the teacher? Better yet, from the child to the parent and the teacher?

    How often does a parent step forward and say, “Hey other parents, we are educators, too. Who wants to be an active part of this learning community?” What about children?

    Educator professional development… I agree the focus on increased education is often generally not helpful for making someone a “better” teacher. Besides the skills Jack talked about, what about learning about natural teaching style tendencies and how to share power and not try to always be the one in the front spouting out the info, but instead be one sitting in the circle of learner-educators.

    Telling stories are entertaining and help people remember, but when used in the classroom it often does not often then ask learners to use critical thinking skills because they have only been told the story. Instead, educators should be looking how to use story “writing” to inspire learners to piece things together to form their understanding of stories through critical thinking and exploration of various perspectives.

    Also, professional training should include experiences (perhaps courses) in which there is a diversity of community members learning together. Educator “professional development” should not be done with only other professional educators. It should be experiences that include parents, coaches, mentors, grandparents, and… children!

    Also, what about finding your own passion because most of us adults, educators or parents, don’t know what we are passionate about. How can we identify with children as passionate learners when we don’t remember what that is like for ourselves?

    Finally, educators, all educators, need help learning how to trust – not only the children, the parents, other educators in children’s lives, but also themselves.

  10. I think the analogy about programming the kids with an operating system can cover a lot of ground.

    For example, the public school system is like Windows. It controls 90% of the market and the perception is you must use Windows to be in business. If you started on Windows and have always used Windows anything else is an insignificant slice of the market.

    Similarly, iOS/Apple is like a private school. It’s generally more expensive, it can be better in some ways, but some of what you pay is just for the name and reputation of Apple. Apple does look at things differently and many people really like that.

    I think home schooling or unschooling is a bit more like Linux users. They are way outside the main stream, but much of the real cutting edge stuff is done in that environment. For example, most of the web server infrastructure in use today is Linux based. In our analogy, maybe people that think outside the box of the common operating systems end up being the backbone of getting things done.

    When we learned to use a computer Win-XP (or Win-95) worked very well most of the time. We could get things done. This new Win-8 (common core) type mental reconditioning is a wildly inefficient pain in the butt for us, but if you started on Win-8, it’s just Windows…

    The point is our society is being programmed with certain systems that shape our paradigm, logic and decision structure. However, the operating system is just the basics of what make the system run. There are thousands of possible programs. Some programs are a waste of time or are malicious while others are useful tools for productivity and growth.

    If possible, we need to pick an operating system that will provide a environment that facilitates growth and innovation. However, we can all choose the programs we install and the amount of time and energy we spend on those programs. No matter what operating system we are on, we determine what sort of results we get. If you can’t find the a program that will do what you want, you can learn how to program and write your own!

    • Your Windows 8 Stuff have me forced to comment on something I was going to say on air next week because it is right up the alley.

      I’m in my 40s at 14 I remember showing some work to my dad and asking for help, he could give me the answer but not the way the teacher wanted it, his response was, that isn’t the way I learned it.

      This wasn’t really the case with my son, what he did was mostly the way I learned it BUT many guys my age have kids in school still, it isn’t the way they learned it is it?

      Do you think at least some of the reason that schools change the “core” every 20 or so years is so parents will have to say that?

    • I enjoyed this analogy. I’ll also go further to say like linux, it’s a distributed system where some do great, some not so much, but there isn’t some sort of systemic overall risk because of a “one size fits all” like the other two. Linux (in many situations) isn’t the most “effiecient” solution, or the most well tailored, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t the most overall flexible and self-tailorable.

  11. Though I don’t fully agree with him, my brother, a 28 year DHS/ICE employee says, “Never attribute to conspiracy what is easily explained by stupidity.” (or CYA/selfishness)

    I think it’s common that when a new pin-head gets in charge of something they want to “fix” it by implementing their new and improved ideas…often without first learning to appreciate the things that are working in the existing system.

    Why is the educational system so out of touch with rational thought and common sense?

    For the most part, the people that learned things “the old way” took the things they learned and went to work. However, some of those people continued inside the institutional education bubble where the old way was challenged and belittled instead of being tested and refined by experience.

    I think we now we have the manifestation of generations of untested ideas spawned in academia and cultured in the laboratory of public education.
    …try some of this new math in the business world…you’ll get laughed at and/or kicked to the curb.

    It’s another dichotomy between workers and academics. We pay their salaries while they scramble the brains of the next generation. Who is more foolish?

      • Roger that.
        From the stories I’ve heard, there are many coverups in government….but the vast majority of them seem to be to cover-your-a$$ instead of being the result of some vast conspiracy. To attribute so many things to conspiracy is to imply the people doing them are thoughtful enough to anticipate the results of their actions.

        There seem to also be a lot of things that look really nasty or suspicious that are the result of some tone-deaf pin head not thinking things through. “Of course our school district needs an MRAP.”…it’s bad enough if the local sheriff’s department has one, but at least they could make a legit case for it.
        On the outside we ask, “WTF?”