Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sobering lessons learned by veteran teacher after 2 days shadowing students

Grant Wiggins  The following account comes from a veteran HS teacher who just became a Coach in her building. Because her experience is so vivid and sobering I have kept her identity anonymous. But nothing she describes is any different than my own experience in sitting in HS classes for long periods of time. And this report of course accords fully with the results of our student surveys. 

I have made a terrible mistake.
I waited fourteen years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day. It was so eye-opening that I wish I could go back to every class of students I ever had right now and change a minimum of ten things – the layout, the lesson plan, the checks for understanding. Most of it!

This is the first year I am working in a school but not teaching my own classes; I am the High School Learning Coach, a new position for the school this year. My job is to work with teachers and admins. to improve student learning outcomes.

As part of getting my feet wet, my principal suggested I “be” a student for two days: I was to shadow and complete all the work of a 10th grade student on one day and to do the same for a 12th grade student on another day. My task was to do everything the student was supposed to do: if there was lecture or notes on the board, I copied them as fast I could into my notebook. If there was a Chemistry lab, I did it with my host student. If there was a test, I took it (I passed the Spanish one, but I am certain I failed the business one).

Key Takeaway #1
Students sit all day, and sitting is exhausting. [....]

Key Takeaway #2
High School students are sitting passively and listening during approximately 90% of their classes.[...]

Key takeaway #3
You feel a little bit like a nuisance all day long. [....] 

click the above link for the full article - it is worth reading.Read the followup comments also

1 comment :

  1. It always amazes me how clueless teachers are as to how kids experience academic learning in school as shown by this article and also clueless as how they experience socio-moral learning ( discipline). At least in yeshivot , kids do a lot of the talking – chavrusa, and the shiurim are very much inter-active driven by student questions. Kids don't need to sit in one place but can move around , stand and stretch when they want to. This means you don't need to control kids so they sit still and just listen for most of the day. Teachers would know more about kids perspectives and concerns and kids would be more engaged in learning if they- the teachers followed Deborah Meier's advice – Teaching is mostly listening, and learning is mostly telling.


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