The first thing that struck me about the homework blog by Dan Meyer and I suppose I will see this everywhere, is the informal dialogue. People using everyday speak even though they’re professionals, to have a professional discussion. Most aren’t concerned about impressing their colleagues or their boss with the right political or pedagogical verse. It is refreshing. The many, many comments certainly added an experiential component and provided good debate. Many times somethign sounds good until unedited questions and comments start flying.
As for homework, I assign it on an irregular bases, depending on the course, to improve student learning. For years many studies have concluded assigning short, relevant homework is a best practice, now we getting otherwise, surprise, surprise. My role as a teacher is to teach life long learning skills using best practices and homework is part of that. Definitely doing work at home is an essential part of life long learning and schools should be stressing all aspects not just the ones that are convenient and less stress for teachers, administrators, parents and students. I could talk about this for hours but I have to use those hours to talk about other things.
The blog Questions for One of Our Favorite Authors: Grace Lin definitely struck gold with the author responding. The class got a literature lesson from an actual successful author, certainly facilitating learning by grabbing and exciting the students that this famous person would actually respond. She had them hooked like very few classroom teachers could. Courtesy, cordialness and respect marked the dialogue the tone was different from the homework post. I’m finding when you blog reading there is always the potential for commenting so interactivity is implicit.
The blog Spies Like Us grabbed my attention because cell phone issues are common problems dealt with by all schools regardless if they’re banned or not. There is an easy solution to all this spy stuff. The law says that it is illegal to record somebody without their permission and such recordings are inadmissible in court. If such restrictions are extended to schools so that school boards and administrators can’t use illegally obtained material then the spy crap is minimized. Her blog instances a few teachers set up by students and the content can be edited to get the message you want. Although public image may take a hit, unions should get on this. The comments indicate that people were definitely being informed; the blog was a learning forum. The comments actually emphasized the importance of the post and could easily make a person revisit it.
I found, “How to Prevent Another Leonardo da Vinci,” May 23, 2007 by Kris Bradburn very interesting. I agree with most of the 10 characteristics of creative, innovative people. However, when I look at what the “Murder” is, it seems a repetitive theme, pushing verbatim knowledge through teacher dissemination. Science use to be the same, except for the one lab a week. But any school’s science department that I’ve been in lately has been trying to get away from that with varying degrees of success. We have been doing some things as an education system that has stifled the achievement of the da Vinci’s. For years the system has served the lowest common denominator spending billions on low and mediocre achievers while the high achievers have been given cursory attention, allowed to dwell in mediocrity and get 90’s doing so. The culture in a lot schools is actually detrimental to geniuses. They loose their interest, their curiosity, their drive, their individual identity as achievers. Thank God when they hit the capitalist system many reawaken as the rewards of achieving in their field of interest spur them to achieve. I agree that the education system must take considerable responsibility but I believe it’s more the philosophy behind education today which drives the teaching strategies, the curriculum, the testing, the school cultures…. Then there’s the rest of the story, the kids, the society, the parents, the culture, the move toward socialism….
An Open Letter About Cyberbullying makes you shake your head in disbielf at some people. In elementary school, I was a bully and was bullied so this subject is close to me. Imagine visiting a site consisting of people concerned or dealing with cyperbullying and starting a raucous. It doesn’t matter if it was for a harmless(maybe tasteless) laugh or you really think the site was a haven for wining babies. Tact, edict, proper protocol, human decency, pity, compassion, correct oration … implores you to tread lightly. This person showed insensitivity to the point of being offensive and I am not one who cries insensitive, intolerant or offensive every time someone disagrees with me or does something I don’t like.
A student survey at one of the schools I taught at revealed that 55% of the students believed they were subjected to bullying in one form or another. The funny thing was it really didn’t become a topic. The administration was so concerned about increasing student performance scores that they only dealt with parts of the survey they decided related to that. They failed to realize how much bullying can affect performance and bullying can be abstract, obscure and arbitrary in nature so dealing with it can be difficult. We certainly don’t want our schools to become like prisons where many students’ biggest fear is other students.