Last day we reviewed the foundation of ‘understanding.’ We watched and listened to students speak of their achievement of understanding in Rafe Esquith’s class. We also saw how he created environments that were conducive to the development of understanding.
We also witnessed how the environment developed understanding with a concerted focus on reading and vocabulary development. Mr. Esquith reads two hours a day to his students. He talks about the content and the language (vocabulary) to help students develop a depth and breadth of understanding.
Another thing you might have noticed is was the emphasis placed on inquiry and activity rather than rules and compliance. Mr. Esquith adopts a very interesting framework to help students develop a personal responsibility toward their learning. Let me share that with you here in a keynote address Mr. Esquith gives to administrators.
Before I share the talk with you, let me give you the question:
You will be able to answer the following question by watching the first 20 minutes.
Questions (Third Set Continued)
13: What are Kohlberg’s Levels of Moral Development and how does Mr. Esquith incorporate Kohlberg’s theory into his own classroom?
Rafe Esquith @ NAESP 2012
Now on to another Foundation Review.
Shall we talk about boredom? I think we should. As you have experienced in your past, some classrooms feel terribly boring. Why is that, and what can we do about it?
We discussed the influence of the factory and industrialization on the design of schools. You will recall: task oriented, compliance to authority, control of the body, efficiency, and emphasis on mechanical time (bells, schedules, timed methods), and hierarchical control structures.
Even today, we find an increasing emphasis on the elimination of play, recess, drama, the arts, to increase student time-on-task in the area of language arts and math. Why? To improve student test scores in those areas.
As you will recall, we looked briefly at some educational environments that had more activity, more freedom, and more outdoor experience. What we do know is that school environments don’t have to follow the industrial model. Because we are biological organisms (another foundation we discussed), if we increase our sensitivity to the body’s physical/biological needs we can create environments that are more conducive to the natural ways of learning. The body needs movement, activity, play. The body needs to engage all its senses (as you recall).
Have we created a “boring factory?” Do we need to follow a structure that leads to boredom? Are our schooling environments creating health problems because of prolonged stress and physical inactivity?
This next documentary is one that will not only develop your depth and breadth of understanding as it relates to the historical influences of the factory/industrial models on schooling, but it will help you develop your depth and breadth of understanding as it relates to what you, as a future teacher, can start to do to make positive changes to your own classroom environments.
The documentary is called Boredom. It might just change the way you think about teaching and schooling.
Let me give you the question before you start watching the documentary.
Questions (Third Set Continued)
14: When you become a teacher or a school administrator or an educational specialist, you will have flexibility in what you do in your classroom and how you engage your students. Contrary to a common belief, teachers do not have to follow textbooks, give reams of tests, and threaten students with grades. But teachers who are innovative sometimes have to be able to justify what they are doing. To do that, you have to know the arguments against following discriminatory, compliant-based, models of instruction. For example, because you now know that teaching to learning styles is actually contrary to good educational practice, you will not be inclined to stand by and allow someone to tell you that you should teach to students learning styles. You have to know the real facts before you can do what might actually be in the best interest of your students.
The following documentary will help you understand why some classrooms are following some out-dated practices and just what you can do about it.
List 10 specific problems from the documentary that are associated with boredom, why they are responsible for boredom, and what you as a future teacher can do about it.
Believe it or not, this is the first serious documentary on boredom. Director Albert Nerenberg (Laughology, Stupidity) asks why the subject of boredom has been so religiously avoided and shows that boredom isn’t what you think it is.
I hope you enjoyed the documentary. I am quite certain that you will have something to say, in the future, about some of the compliant-based, industrial-aged, practices taking place in schools.
Until next time 🙂