27

Nov

by jwomack

What do students learn in school?  I was having a conversation at the dinner table the other night and this subject came up.  My father is always quizzing the table on little facts that have to do with things one might learn in school.  Most of the time no one else in the family knows.  My father always responds, “what did you learn in school”.  It is funny because tonight my mother said, “only what I needed to know for the test”.  I think this is very interesting and I thought about the knowledge that I had from my schooling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lge9z7eKCwc&feature=watch_response

I believe that my mother’s response would be pretty typical for the average high school student these days.  It seems with the increased importance of standardized testing, and a general lack of interest from students in school that knowledge is not really being attained.  Even as I type this blog I am starting to realize that I did not really retain a lot of what I was taught in high school and even a bit in college.   Students learn what they value or believe is going to get them through school.  A lot of students today I believe do not value school and they are not motivated to learn because they do not learn how it applies to their lives.  As educators I believe what students are learning are things that they need to know to make sure schools pass test standards.  I believe the focus for schools is making sure their students are educated, but more so that the students are doing well on the tests that the school is required to take and pass.  In this case I do not think this is what education needs to be focused on.

As I have harped for most of my blogs I believe that true education is making sure our students are making connections to the things taught so that the knowledge will be retained.  In our book it talks about 21st century skills.  This is a curriculum to help prepare students for the real world and be active contributors to society (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  I think that this would be a great curriculum that should be used throughout the education system.  As I can attest there are many things that I might have learned in school, but I have no recollection of that knowledge.  It is important for our future students to retain the knowledge that they learn.  If we as teachers are able to create that connection for the students I believe it will make education and life going forward a lot easier.  In that same respect I believe too many of our youth are being thrust into the real world with out the skills to survive.  They may know all they need to know about math, but if they cannot do their taxes what good is all that math.  It is important to add this skill learning to our students to help support them so that they will be able to support our society when they mature.

To be successful as teachers we need to make connections.  These should not just be personal but also connections with society and the content taught.  Students for too long have been spoon-fed their education and as a result we have a society that cannot think for themselves.  We need to move back to critical thinking and challenging our students to use their brains fully.  Shifting our curriculum to activities in groups and critical thinking skills.  If we as teachers are able to make students think and come up with multiple ways to understand information and use it then we will be successful.  Our students right now are not learning much.  It is our job as teachers to challenge students and make sure critical thinking prevails.

 

 

References

 

Ornstein, A., & Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed).

 

20

Nov

by jwomack

Teaching in this day and age is very interesting.  I have been out of high school for seven years and I think things have changed by leaps and bounds.  With the continued innovation in technology and constant pressure to meet state and federal requirements teachers have a lot to think about.  The things teachers need to know in order to teach I believe vary depending on what level and where you are located.  I do believe though that no matter what or where you are teaching you will need a plethora of tools to help assist in educating students.

Schools are still very relevant and I think more so now then ever before.  We live in an era of many struggles.  It is up to our education system to prepare our future generations to handle their lives moving forward, and become good, contributing citizens.  I believe that much of the strife or problems going on now can be related to our education system or a lack of education.  We have a large class of people who have some form of education from a college degree or high school or even GED.  The problem is many of these people are not really educated to things that affect them now in there daily lives.  The task now at hand is to take back these classrooms and work to fully educate students, and give them tools that will help them live out the rest of their lives.  As stated in our textbook I believe in student-centered curricula.  It makes sense that if we as educators would incorporate the interests and needs of learners into curriculum that they would be more motivated and learning would be greater (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  Now I do not think that students need to be given full control of what they learn in school, but understanding what their interests can help in forming a teacher’s lesson plans around those interests.  This goes back to teachers needing to get to know their students.  Sending home a survey at the beginning of the year so that you have an idea of whom you are teaching.  From that you can also take not in how each student learns.  When we as teachers understand these two things I believe we can then begin to truly educate the students.  With this new understanding of our students we can gear lesson plans that will allow for our students to have the most success.  I believe we also need to allow our students to be creative and think.  Allowing the students to work in groups, and work on project based assignments I believe will utilize their minds as well as help in developing real life skills.  Students need to use their minds; they do not need to memorize facts.  Being able to apply what they learn in school to their future life will be the most beneficial for them as well as our society moving forward.

 

 

References

 

Ornstein, A., & Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed).

 

14

Nov

by jwomack

It was very funny to see the subject for our blog this week because I myself want to be a special education teacher.  I continue to think to myself, “Am I really going to be able to teach”?  This is a fear of mine because these students do require extra attention and patience.  I struggle with confidence because these students education will be in my hands.  It is a tall order to think about, but I know that it will be worth it in the end because I do care.  I want these students to learn and I want to challenge them to do more.  I believe they are capable of great things, and I believe that they need teachers who truly believe this to teach them.

Now I believe I would teach gifted students the same as I would students with special needs.  Both groups would need modified plans to fit their learning styles.  For both groups I would need to get to know the students and understand how they learn.  My goal as a teacher is to know my students and to know what it will take to make them the most successful at learning.  In a classroom that pertains to gifted students I think giving them work that is challenging and interesting would spark their interest.  The problem most teachers end up with these students is that they don’t have enough work, or the work is too easy for them.  Handling this in an inclusive class would not be a problem.  I would assign work, but I would add an addendum to the work for those students who I knew were gifted.  For example, if students had a worksheet of 25 math problems I would add to the students who were gifted additional work.  I could ask them for the mean, median, and mode of all their answers.  I might also give these students other assignments such as researching a topic and reporting to me about it.  The goal is to make sure that all my students are stimulated through their education.  I do believe that we are moving to a time where collaboration will flourish.  Especially with the push for inclusion I believe it makes the most sense to have multiple teachers in the classroom.  With two teachers game planning could be done, and those students who need to be challenged or who are struggling through a learning disabilities can be focused on.  There could be one main focus for the lesson and there would be branches that catered to the different students in the inclusion.  The supporting teacher could then monitor those students as the main teacher continues on with the main focus.  As far as tools are concerned I know that something that will help me greatly is “Exceptional Learners An Introduction to Special Education”.  This was the book we used in my first graduate class and it has many amazing things that relate to teaching students with special needs.  The book is a great resource and goes in depth about many things from IEP’s to laws that are constantly being updated.  It also has little sections throughout the book with Internet resources listed that will be helpful in teaching.  The National Association for Gifted Children has a website dedicated to gifted children.  You can learn all about gifted students and how the term came to be used.  While we want to treat all students fairly we must also look to keep the students engaged.  It is our job as educators to educate the students and make it interesting and challenging.

 

 

References

The national association for gifted children. (n.d.). Retrieved from

http://www.nagc.org/

7

Nov

by jwomack

In today’s age one cannot afford to be uncultured.  In every class you teach you will encounter many different backgrounds and ways of life.  It is the teacher’s job to do there best to accept and mold these differences into a workable teaching environment.  This may not be an easy task for some, but it should be the ultimate goal for having a good classroom environment.

When it comes to tracking I believe that if it is used right it is a very helpful tool.  Unfortunately, I do not think that it is being used very properly in the schools systems of today.  A great example of this is shown in the movie “Freedom Writers”.  The students of room 203 were tracked as the lower level learners.  They were all students with many difficulties, who the school had really given up on.  It was clear the school was no so much intent on educating them as it was keeping them under control.  It was only because of the efforts of a true educator that these students were able to learn and better themselves.  It is in situations like this that I think the education system really fails at utilizing the tracking method.  Our book labels this type of education as ineffective homogeneous grouping (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  In the movie the school had labeled this class as the “dumb” class and resources were not given to help these students learn.  As we also talked in class when these students are aware of what is thought of them it makes trying to teach them even more difficult.  Students at any level of learning need to feel cared about, and know they matter.

I believe in educating every student the best way that we can.  As I continue to learn about education I gain more knowledge and opinions about how things should be done.  Tracking in my opinion can be good.  There are times in a class where you have students who are more advanced.  How does a teacher cater to both a student who learns fast and one who struggles and takes more time?  I think it might be easier and more beneficial in the long run if these students were separated so that the teacher for that class could focus on those students abilities and gear the curriculum for them.  I also do no think there has to be a separation if there were more teachers in the classroom.  There could be cooperative teaching where one teacher focuses on the struggling learners and augments lessons for them.  I think too often though tracking does not work because the support is not there, and teachers already have their minds made up about the students.  I believe everyone is capable of learning.  Different students may learn slower, or learn in extraordinary ways, but they can learn.  I want to be a part of that learning, and I think being able to identify like learners will help in educating.

 

 

References

Ornstein, A., & Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed).

 

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