FEATURES FOR TEACHERS
Features For New Teachers
Volume 4, Issue 20
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Now that the beginning of the school year is upon us, let's
examine our goal setting:
Dear Dr. Manute,
I'm a first year teacher. What are some good goals for me to select for myself for the year?
Julia, Memphis, TN
Dear Julia -
Goal setting is very important not only for first year teachers but for everyone in education. The goals we set help keep us on track through the year.
Your first year can seem very overwhelming. You've taken on a new position in a new school. You have new students and curriculum. The learning curve for a first year teacher is really immense! You will have your principal, your fellow teachers, the support staff, and of course your students all vying for your time. It is very important, therefore, to set a few goals for yourself so you aren't caught up in the swell of the first year.
Try to select a goal to improve your craft - it may be to work on class openings or closings, sponge activities, or transitions between activities. It may be use the library on a regular basis. It may be to try out a new teaching strategy each month. There are a lot of goals, and you can discuss such ideas with your principal, who may have other ideas for you too.
Also set your goal to have lesson plans for every day, and look them over to be sure they align with your school and state's curriculum and benchmarks. Get in this habit early in your career!
And importantly, select a goal for your personal life. Make time for your family, be it a special trip or vacation, a relaxing weekend with your spouse and kids, or just some 'me-time' for yourself. Find a good book to read to help keep your sanity. Take up a hobby or craft. There's that old story about the pebbles in the vase - if you don't get the ones in there you want, the vase will fill up with the pebbles from everybody else.
Good luck in your teaching. It is a very rewarding career!
The different learning theories have their own explanation. According to Vygotsky (1978, 2001) learning take place in social situations and it happens when one come across a new concept in social setup and then it goes to individual internalization. Usually, in science classrooms teachers experience the teaching pedagogies which focuses on teaching discoveries and inventions of science for example what are the organs (parts) of respiratory system and how they function. This is very important but then students should also know how to apply this scientific knowledge in their practical lives. Generally speaking students can not relate their scientific knowledge with their daily lives. That’s how science remains limited only to science classrooms and laboratories. In order to bridge the gap between scientific factual knowledge and the practical use of it, science teachers need to use variety of pedagogies in science classroom. One of them could be teaching socio scientific controversies in science through “debate”. It is not only teacher who should know about process of debate in classroom but it is always good to share it with students as well. Eventually students are going to participate in the process so they should know what they are expected to do.
What is debate?
Debate is a competition in which two opposing teams make speeches to support their arguments and disagree with those of the other team.
Resolution: the opinion about which two teams argue.
Affirmative team: agrees with the resolution.
Negative team: disagrees with the resolution.
Rebuttal: explains why one team disagrees with the other team.
Judges: decide the winner.
It is important to remember that you have been placed in your group based on what seems to be the opposite of what you really think.
Using debates in the classroom can help students grasp many essential critical thinking and presentation skills. Among the skills classroom debates can foster are:
· abstract thinking
· analytical thinking
· point of view
· distinguishing fact from opinion
· identifying bias
· organization of information
· public speaking
evidences to support your reasons
Supporting your reasons consists of evidence. The four kinds of evidence:
• Example: from your own experience or from what you heard or read.
• Common Sense: things that you believe everybody knows.
• Expert Opinion: the opinions of experts -- this comes from research.
• Statistics: numbers -- this also comes from research.
Here are samples based on the debate topic, "Smoking should be banned in all public places."
Example: For example / for instance / let me give an example
Whenever I go to a restaurant or bar and there are people smoking near me, I feel that I am breathing their smoke. This makes me a smoker even though I don't want to be.
Common Sense: Everyone knows / if...then / it's common knowledge that secondhand smoke is very unhealthy for nonsmokers.
Secondhand smoke causes about 250,000 respiratory infections in infants and children every year, resulting in about 15,000 hospitalizations each year.
Expert Opinion: According to.../ to quote.../ the book _____ says...
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, "secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths in nonsmokers each year."
topics in science class
Debate topics must be appropriate to the grade level of the students. Many "controversial issues" are about topics that would be inappropriate in the elementary classroom. Care should be taken in planning for debate issues that would not offend the beliefs and values of the students. Below is a list of possible topics:
· Animals Used in Research
· Energy resources
· Bioengineered Foods
· Genetic Engineering
· Global Warming
· Nuclear Proliferation
Different strategies of debate in class
following different kinds of debate can be used to engage students and
vary the debate structure by involving the class in different ways.
Role play debate
Tag team debate
Look for Part 2 of this article which will focus on how to teach several of these debate strategies
Most states and districts in the 1990s adopted Outcomes Based Education in some form or another. The process usually was an umbrella for other disputed methods, such as constructivist mathematics and whole language. A state would create a committee to adopt standards, and a performance based assessment to assess "learning outcomes" which might look somewhat like a content based test, or something that parents might violently reject with very little recognizably academic content. A "Certificate of Mastery" would replace the diploma. At the start of the 1990s, "outcomes" tended to be nonacademic, but towards the 2000s, the term "high standards" instead was adopted, often resulting in very difficult tests. In the 2000s, many states are slated to require passing these tests to get a diploma, compared to the earlier tradition that any student who got a D average and attended for 4 years would graduate with one. States would spend millions to implement these reform programs. Other reform movements were School To Work, which would require all students to spend substantial class time on a job site.
Education reform has been pursued for a variety of specific reasons, but generally most reforms aim at redressing some societal ills, such as poverty-, gender-, or class-based inequities, or perceived ineffectiveness. Reforms are usually proposed by thinkers who aim to redress societal ills or institute societal changes, most often through a change in the education of the members of a class of people—the preparation of a ruling class to rule or a working class to work, the social hygiene of a lower or immigrant class, the preparation of citizens in a democracy or republic, etc. The idea that all children should be provided with a high level of education is a relatively recent idea, and has arisen largely in the context of Western democracy in the 20th century.
States have tried to use state schools to increase state power, especially to make better soldiers and workers. This strategy was first adopted to unify related linguistic groups in Europe, such as Germany and Italy. Exact mechanisms are unclear, but it often fails in areas where populations are culturally segregated, as when the U.S. Indian school service failed to suppress Lakota and Navaho, or when a culture has widely-respected autonomous cultural institutions, as when the Spanish failed to suppress Catalan.
Many students of democracy have desired to improve education in order to improve the quality of governance in democratic societies; the necessity of good public education follows logically if one believes that:
1. the quality of democratic governance depends on the ability of
citizens to make informed, intelligent choices, and
Politically-motivated educational reforms of the democratic type are recorded as far back as Plato, whose book The Republic was essentially a thought experiment on education reform. In the United States of America, this lineage of democratic education reform was continued by Thomas Jefferson, who advocated ambitious reforms partly along Platonic lines for public schooling in Virginia.
Another motivation for reform is the desire to address socioeconomic problems, which many people see as having significant roots in lack of education. Starting in the twentieth century, people have attempted to argue that small improvements in education can have large returns in such areas as health, wealth and well-being. For example, in Kerala, India in the 1950s, increases in women's health were correlated with increases in female literacy rates. In Iran, increased primary education was correlated with increased farming efficiencies and income. In both cases some researchers have concluded these correlations as representing an underlying causal relationship: education causes socioeconomic benefits. In the case of Iran, researchers concluded that the improvements were due to farmers gaining reliable access to national crop prices and scientific farming information.
Libertarian theorists such as Milton Friedman advocate School choice to eliminate any need for formal accountability. Public educational vouchers would permit guardians to select and pay any school, public or private, with public funds. The theory is that children's guardians will shop for the best schools.
Home education is favored by some parents who directly take responsibility for their children's education, eliminating accountability by public officials.
Montessori Pre- and Primary school programs employ alternative methods of guided exploration, embracing children's natural curiosity rather than scolding it for falling out of rank.
Some of the methods and reforms have gained permanent advocates, and are widely utilized.
Many educators now believe that anything that more precisely meets the needs of the child will work better. This was initiated by M. Montessori and is still utilized in Montessori schools.
The teaching method must be teachable! This is a lesson from both Montessori and Dewey. This view now has very wide currency, and is used to select much of the curricula of teachers' colleges.
Conservative programs are often based on classical education, which is seen by conservatives to reliably teach valuable skills in a developmentally appropriate order to the majority of Myers-Briggs temperaments, by teaching facts.
Programs that test individual learning, and teach to mastery of a subject have been proven by the state of Kentucky to be far more effective than group instruction with compromise schedules, or even class-size reduction
Schools with limited resources, such as most public schools and most third-world and missionary schools, use a grammar-school approach. The evidence of Lancaster schools suggests using students as teachers. If the culture supports it, perhaps the economic discipline of the Lancaster school can reduce costs even further. However, much of the success of Lancaster's "school economy" was that the children were natives of an intensely mercantile culture.
In order to be effective, classroom instruction needs to change subjects at times near a typical student's attention span, which can be as frequently as every two minutes for young children. This is an important part of Marva Collins' method.
The Myers-Briggs temperaments fall into four broad categories, each sufficiently different to justify completely different educational theories. Many developmental psychologists say that it might be socially profitable to test for and target temperaments with special curricula.
Some of the Myers-Briggs temperaments are known to despise educational material that lacks theory. Therefore, effective curricula need to raise and answer "which" and "why" questions, to teach students with "intuitive" (Myers-Briggs) modalities.
Philosophers identify independent, logical reasoning as a precondition to most western science, engineering, economic and political theory. Therefore, every educational program that desires to improve students' outcomes in political, health and economic behavior should include a Socratic-taught set of classes to teach logic and critical thinking.
Substantial resources and time can be saved by permitting students to test out of classes. This also increases motivation, directs individual study, and reduces boredom and disciplinary problems.
To support inexpensive continuing adult education a community needs a free public library. It can start modestly as shelves in an attended shop or government building, with donated books. Attendants are essential to protect the books from vandalism. Adult education repays itself many times over by providing direct opportunity to adults. Free libraries are also powerful resources for schools and businesses.
New programs based on modern learning theories should be quantitatively investigated for effectiveness, as was done by KERA
A notable reform of the education system of Massachusetts occurred in 1993.
The current student voice effort echoes past school reform initiatives focusing on parent involvement, community involvement, and other forms of participation in schools. However, it is finding a significant amount of success in schools because of the inherent differences: student voice is central to the daily schooling experience because students spend all day there. Many educators today strive for meaningful student involvement in their classrooms, while school administrators, school board members, and elected officials each lurch to hear what students have to say.
An important thing to keep in mind is that students are practicing
the writing process. We cannot expect them to be experts, and we
certainly can't expect to grade each writing assignment as if it's a
finished piece of writing.
Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm
I am very powerful!
Whatever I set my mind on having, I will have.
Whatever I decide to be, I will be.
The evidence is all around me.
With the choices I make, I am constantly fulfilling the
vision I have for my life.
If I want to build a billion-dollar business, I will
take the actions necessary to do it.
Don’t be disappointed in my results --
I will be sure of what I truly want,
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