Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Teaching Perseverance


There are many examples in our lives in which overcoming failure is a key element to success:

Riding a bike

Potty Training

Hitting a baseball

Tying your shoes


So why do our schools seem to increasingly be designed to minimize opportunities to learn perseverance. Too often we cover a topic and test the kids and they either get it or they don't. Units must take a certain number of days and if you don't learn within that time frame, you fail. Were you given a timeframe in which to learn to ride a bike? Tie your shoes? What if you were given an F because it took you longer to learn than your parents thought it should. Sorry. You just weren't cut out to go potty! I guess you will never tie your shoes!

The determination that this little kid shows is way more important than the skill of riding a bike. If we can develop that in all of our students, they will be far more successful in life than if we slap a grade on them that they are either good or bad at something. The reality is most of us start off not very good at most things. It is our perseverance that keeps us going back and working harder until we get it right.



Video thanks to bonedustcloudat

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New teachers... Welcome to teaching!

I have been spending some time this week preparing a new teacher training for new staff. They will have a full week of orientation and one whole day of that will be technology training. For one day, new staff will be immersed in learning about the many tools they have at their disposal to help their students learn. From Smartboards to student response devices, MOODLE to Google Apps, Discovery education to their Schoolwires webpage, these teachers will need to hit the ground running. They will leave swimming with excitement and anxiety about all the possibilities. Some will jump right in and start using the tools, while others will have good intentions of trying them later on after they get their feet wet.

There is no question that the expectations for new teachers are very different. Yet, they still come with the same preparation. I can't believe how many teachers come to us that haven't had any real experience with these tools. I was recently asked to be a guest lecturer about technology integration at a nearby university. After asking a few questions, I quickly concluded that my 2 1/2 hour class would be the full extent of their exposure to digital literacy, blended learning, and online collaboration. How is this possible? These new teachers should be learning from the beginning about teaching for the 21st century so they can hit the ground running. Instead, we have to prepare them.

So, new teachers, welcome! As if you didn't have enough to think about... curriculum, policy, standards, assessments, nametags, etc... We are going to send you on a whirlwind ride through the many tools you will be expected to use in your classroom. Have fun! And don't forget my phone number!