Sunday, July 31, 2011

Teacher pays the price for turning in cheaters

Teacher pays the price for turning in cheaters Read this story about a teacher in New York University that after running homework through the "Turnitin" website he found that students were cheating.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Brains Are Fun

There is what appears to be an universal quest in education. This is: What makes a Master Teacher?
This website Brains Are Fun has some very good insights about the fundamental principles accompanying being a Master Teacher. This website created by Rory Donaldson has good advise clarifying some important principles like: Start on Time,
Keep Focus and Get to the Objectives.
The following list is also included in Rory Donaldson's paper:

"Master Teachers share many common elements. With these elements in place, any lesson can be turned into an effective lesson, all teachers can become masters of their trade:

  1. Teacher behavior is recognized and accepted as the critical variable to student success.
  2. Master Teachers have stopped confusing teaching with learning.
  3. Placement tests assign students to appropriate skill groups.
  4. Behavior is established before academic instruction.
  5. Rules for behavior are taught and drilled to mastery.
  6. The curriculum is recognized as a critical variable in effective instruction and is continually evaluated against results.
  7. Skills and information to be learned are broken down into their component parts and the component parts are drilled to mastery.
  8. The teacher accepts responsibility for student learning.
  9. Lessons follow a prescribed format and are explicit about what is to be learned.
  10. Reading mastery is recognized as the core academic competency.
  11. Teachers and students are required to perform quickly and accurately.
  12. Errors are corrected immediately.
  13. Good behavior is regularly rewarded (rarely with candy.)
  14. Low-performing students are never ignored, and are never tricked by questions to which they haven't first been taught the answers.
  15. Phonics and sound blending skills are the basis for reading.
  16. Computation is the foundation of mathematics.
  17. Carefully rehearsed scripts keep teachers and students on task.
  18. All students are regularly tested to insure mastery of the material.
  19. The class does not move on until proficiency or mastery is achieved by at least 70% of the class. Appropriate interventions are developed for the remaining 30%
  20. Mastery is evaluated by specific, regular testing.
  21. Quick and easily managed interventions are readily available.
  22. There is a principal who has the time and resources to devote to being the academic leader of the school.
  23. Teachers receive ongoing training, in and out of their classrooms, and regular evaluations.
  24. Classes are not allowed to be disrupted by students who choose to sharpen pencils or engage in other "off task" behavior."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Interactive Workshops at

There is so much information related to good teaching practices that is impossible to absorb it. But here and there one find websites with knowledge and information that is succinct useful and entertaining. This one is one of those. In one of the tapes (I got the tapes from O. F. Linn library at Warner Pacific College) they show how teaching in a way runs parallel to the way science works. And that it is better to cover a few topics with greater depth than a lot of topics in a very superficial way. The metaphor used is the one about building a bridge across a river; one could throw stones in some kind of foundation until they are a few inches above water and then use them to go across, or one could build a suspension bridge by burying two pillars deep down making them strong supports to where the bridge is going to be suspended. The question is: which bridge will be better to resist a flood? A study made by the Harvard group looking at college physics students showed that those students that learned a few topics (but with a deeper understanding) outperformed those students who in high school went through the whole book chapter to chapter but having to skip some questions posed by the students for lack of time and moving on to the next chapter in the book.

Confronting the Inequality Juggernaut: A Q&A With Jonathan Kozol

We are facing a dramatic and dangerous situation in our country with school segregation at the K-12 level. Have a look at this dialog with Jonathan Kozol a champion of education desegregation in America.
Confronting the Inequality Juggernaut: A Q&A With Jonathan Kozol
At the college level the problem becomes obscured as many of the problems in high school stop students to continue to college but under the surface there are many issues to be addressed that have been caused by the lack of a consistent, integrated education that allows the student to mature in a way that he/she sees the relevance of their studies to "the real world" that they live in. In many cases schooling is not part of the "real world" that they live so it is hard to make the connection and to have a nurturing relationship with others.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Jonathan Kozol

Great teacher involved with children of diverse backgrounds. Have a look at this video

Igniting the Fire (and Tending the Flame): Teachers on Works That Inspire

One of the main differences that I see between a pre-college teacher and a college professor is the fact that "teachers" will be focused on teaching while professors might have a focus on their individual research. But of course if you have any teacher with an interest beyond the classroom that inspires students that will help the teacher to be effective and engaging. In the following article this point is emphasized Igniting the Fire (and Tending the Flame): Teachers on Works That Inspire
Summer offers the opportunity to recharge and reflect—and for many teachers, it's the ideal time to gather helpful resources. With that in mind, I asked accomplished teachers in the Teacher Leaders Network to share the literary, cinematic, and musical works that sustain them (and help inspire their students). —Braden Welborn

So What Do They Really Know? - Stenhouse Publishers

So What Do They Really Know? - Stenhouse Publishers
Assessing student performance and the way in which teaching and teachers in particular affect the learning process is and has been a major issue in education. There is deep divide between what the student perceives and what is really happening as later on many things will become aware to the student. Life experiences during time will help the student realize what has been learned at the time and how his views have been modified and matured over time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teaching Science

Do we learn science in the same way that we lean anything else?
At first sight it looks like what ever it is we learn, we learn it in the same way. It will only depend on our motivation and in the opportunities provided by the teaching environment. It will depend on our personality and in the relationship of the student with the topic. As we look at how can these opportunities be created and reinforced one has to focus institutions that have been well known to produce scientist of great caliber. One thing we can notice regarding the possible difference between teaching science and non-science topics is the use of laboratory time. Experimentation or better labeled demonstration is an integral part of any science course. Even those sciences such as geology were field trips are part of the course and plays the role of physical observation of phenomena similar to what is done in a laboratory.
There is one place where one can start looking at what kind of environment is nurturing of the learning process by looking at what makes a teacher successful. This article by Dr. Dennis Plies is a good place to start: Dr, Dennis Plies Sabbatical Report In this publication Dr. Plies states that three qualities of a good learning environment are (1) The professor is overflowing with his passion for the subject, (2) He cares about our learning, and (3) The class is interactive. I would add that the reason the class is interactive is due to the individual student recognizing that there is a relationship of the topic with his/her own life!