I Resign From Teaching

Many of you have already read this post. If not take a moment and read. If you have read this look below to see my extended thinking...


To Whom It May Concern:


Consider this my letter of resignation from teaching. After much deliberation and intense research, I now see the futility of teaching my students. I have found that telling my students what to do does not make them learn. I discovered that when I told them what projects to do, they didn’t produce high quality work. I now see that when I give them a test they might do well but can’t talk to me about what they learned. It has also come to my attention that when I tell them something will impact their grade and they need to do it, it doesn’t motivate them. So, I am giving it all up. I am done teaching my students. I will no longer give pencil and paper tests. I refuse to tell my students what projects to do. It has become increasingly clear to me that the less I teach, the more my students are actually learning. Clearly that means I should give up teaching…although this is a painful decision for me.

Now, even though I am resigning from teaching, you will still see me in my classroom. If you look in my open door you will see me at my desk with my feet up more than likely. My students will not be quiet and certainly will not be doing the same thing. Some of them might not even be sitting in chairs and none of them will be sitting in rows. It will be chaotic and kids will be all over the place. But I ask you to take a closer look.

As I am sitting at my desk I am no longer teaching but guiding. I have carefully constructed learning questions and activities for each student. The students are working collaboratively with each other on differentiated learning activities and producing a variety of evidence. They don’t look to me to tell them how to show they are learning but choose how to learn and how best to show me they are learning. They no longer seek me for the answers but look to the array of resources I have provided for them. I am no longer the source of knowledge but merely another learner in the room. Soon I will become invisible and the students will take complete control over their learning. My life as a teacher will cease to exist and a whole new one will replace it.

Please respectfully accept my resignation from teaching. However, I will stay on board to be a guide, a provider, a supervisor, a friend and a learner.

Respectfully Submitted,

Josh Stumpenhorst


When I wrote this post I was not intending it to be viewed by nearly as many people as it did. I understand the idea behind a public blog, but you never expect it to “hit home” with as many people as it seemingly did. Or possibly a handful of people kept hitting the refresh button…:) With that being said, I have had a lot of comments posted as well as tweets and direct messages sent to me. As a result I wanted to expand on my thinking behind this letter of resignation and maybe explain myself in a bit more detail.

First, this was meant to be a play on words but the message was serious. In my classroom this year I have shifted the way I approach my student’s learning. Yes, I did have students doing projects and group work prior to this year, but not at this level. Before, I used projects and various activities as kind of a culminating activity to end an area of study. I still think those types of projects have value. However, what I am doing now is creating those projects and learning activities for students to discover that knowledge more independently. They are no longer relying on me to provide them with the information. Instead, I provide them the tools and skills to go and find that information themselves. In addition, the way in which I assess their learning has changed. It is now varied and independent to the learner. It is not a cookie cutter assessment that only fits one type of learner.

To say this is easier would be a lie. It takes a great deal of time and the process is evolving as I go. I teach 6th graders so I do a great deal of direct instruction at the beginning of the year to model and “teach” them how to be successful in my classroom and the junior high setting. As we have progressed this year I am slowly pulling back and allowing my students to take more control of their learning. The more control I give to them the more they are responding and learning. I know there are teachers who sit at their desks and give kids projects and think they are guiding their class but are simply being lazy. If you think you can just sit back and let kids create Power Points under the guise of being a guide, then in my opinion you have lost the intent if guided learning. Good teaching is hard work regardless of the method you use.

In closing, if you were a student in my classroom last year you would notice it a very different place this year. That is not to say it is better or worse. However, it is better for my kids this year. That is all I want as a teacher. This approach may not work as well next year and something else might. I will continue to find what approach is working best for the group of kids I have in m room at that moment. I am not naïve to think I am doing something remarkable or that my approach will work with every classroom and in every setting. It is working for my kids and therefore I will continue to use it and modify it as I need to in order to push the learning of my students to the highest possible level.


The do(s) and don’t(s) for putting your feet up in the classroom:


Do:
  • Construct meaningful work for students to be doing; boredom and disinterest leads to disengagement and behavior issues.
  • Allow students to choose how they show their learning. Don’t use a cookie cutter approach to activities or assessments.
  • Let kids work in groups to collaborate and share ideas. Two heads are better than one and four heads are really good.
  • Have a comfortable chair! :)
Don’t:
  • Assume kids can do this without some level of modeling and preparation.
  • Close your door and hide what you are doing. Be proud of work student’s work and share it with others even if they are not ready themselves.
  • Grade everything your students are doing. Grades do not motivate students so don’t use it as your motivator. Students will be motivated by learning if the activities are relevant, active, and collaborative.
  • Think that you can always put your feet up. There will be a time when direct instruction will be needed.
  • Think you can actually put your feet up! :)

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

NICE!!! I think I will follow in y our footsteps :)

Eric Johnson said...

What a great post, but don't scare me like that. I still have much to learn from you. Great insight to what we can become as teachers.

mshertz said...

Josh,

I applaud your willingness to reflect and do what's right for your students. However, I wonder about the image you paint of you sitting with your feet up on the desk. That image reminds me of the things you are trying to eliminate from your classroom. I see you moving around the room, asking questions, monitoring student progress toward learning goals and checking in with them.

What do you see?

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

mshertz,

I see your point and agree with you. I clearly am not putting my feet up but more of a metaphor for the hands off approach in terms of my role in the classroom. It is completely shifted to putting more and more ownership on the learning with the students. It is becoming a place where students rely more on each other and the tools I give them rather than on me which is the goal.

Thanks!

Ian said...

Josh,

Excellent! I would love to walk into that classroom and I would look more closely. I mean, it would be hard not to gawk at you with your feet up. My question; what are the skippered that a teacher needs in order to successfully run a classroom in the way you describe?

Ian

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Ian,

Not sure what you mean by "skippered" but this has taken me some time to get to this point in my career. The true moment of "awakening" has been the Mitra experiment that I recently conducted. What I was finding that the less control I had over what students did, the better they were performing on assessments. I provided the opportunities and helped them frame their work, but the ownership for the the learning was truly with them. I am constantly evolving what I do in order to ensure my students are learning and as common sense will tell you, we learn best by doing. So, I let them "do" the learning themselves...with me as their guide.

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Here is the link to the Mitra experiment I mentioned...

http://stumpteacher.blogspot.com/2011/01/hole-in-my-classroom.html

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. I was out sick last week and the sub left me a note saying that she didn't even need to be there because the students knew exactly what to do. Clearly I should resign from teaching too!

j. vincent nix said...

I'm glad you finally see the light, but it is disheartening that you contrast a chaotic classroom with your feet on a desk to teaching. I got a vision of Egyptian President Mubarak surrounded by his kingdom.

Seriously, if your "kids" can't talk about what you "teach" there is nobody to blame but you. Get off your high horse. Many of us have been engaging students for several years now, regardless of policy or bosses' disengagement.

But again, I'm glad that you are at least thinking this over a bit. Congratulations on taking the first steps!

Karen Szymusiak said...

Great post. I was all worried at first. I never want to see folks leave teaching. Your post, of course, had a nice switch to it.
Thanks. It's a great reminder for all of us.

Anonymous said...

I gotta admit - the title spooked me. Good example of how to "hook" a reader for my writer's workshop.

You posted some powerful reflections that go to the core of one's teaching and learning values. I wish they were shared by more.

Regards,
Erin

Erin Paynter said...

I gotta admit, you spooked me with your title. But it's a great example of how writer's hook their readers. I'll share that with my writer's workshop class.
You posted some powerful reflections that go to the core of one's teaching and learning values. They are shared by many, but I wish they were shared by more.


I enjoyed your post greatly.

Regards,
Erin

Anonymous said...

Bravo Josh!I will do the same.

Tanya Windham said...

I love it! I made some similar changes in my classoom this year and am working on others (hard to teach an old dog new tricks).

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Thanks for all the comments. Clearly this was a large metaphor for my release of power in the classroom. My students were learning before, and could tell me what they learned. However, the depth of the conversations are deeper and much richer now.

And please don't think my feet are up on the desk! :) I am in my rolling chair "floating" around the class talking with kids and discussing what they are doing.

My post while a bit of tongue and cheek, is truly a reflection on the value of less control in a classroom. I truly have seen tremendous progress of my students with giving them more control over their learning.

Thanks for all the comments!

Jane Hake said...

Nice job... sometimes it feels that I spend the first sememster "teaching" and then, I get out of their way a bit and the learning really begins!

Sra. Spanglish said...

Any ideas on how to "resign" from teaching a language? I occasionally get close, but still assign the projects and do a lot of "teaching."

Patrick Larkin, Principal said...

Josh,

Great post! How can I tactfully ask my teachers to resign from teaching? I think I need to work on a letter from an administrator to he staff asking for mass resignations!

Felisha said...

I love checking out new methods for getting things done better and faster. This blog post provides insight into how we learn. It's not by sitting passively, but by actively examining, exploring and thinking ON OUR OWN. Of course we need guidance from those with more experience or knowledge, but ultimately, we acquire knowledge best when we apply ourselves to learning.
I have heard that learning in groups or pairs is one of the reasons that Talmudic academies found in Jewish educational systems are so successful. Students listen to a lecture for one hour a day and then spend another 4-8 hours studying in pairs with other students. They analyze the text, debate the meaning of the law, and make a lot of noise. Very chaotic, but it seems to work.
So what this blog post suggests, seems to have an excellent precedent for providing some guidance to the students and then letting them go and work the rest out themselves, in pairs or groups.

Of course there still needs to be some sort of accountability. So tests and rewards should certainly be kept as means of motivation.

Anonymous said...

Josh,

As others have said, way to hook me with the title. I'd never read anything you posted before, but that title caught my eyes instantly!

I've been looking over your (other) posts. I want to 'temper' my first post a bit, but not totally. My first imagery really was Egypt ;)

I do see that you were being a bit "tongue-in-cheek". Well done.

Thanks, too. You've motivated me to finally establish my own blog. I used writing a dissertation and China's Internet as excuses not to do so for long enough. Those are both in the past.

Peace,
Vince

Brian Bailey said...

Bravo - of course you are completely correct. I also learned this a long time ago when teaching in Japan. When I switched to a coaching position, my classes suddenly became much more lively for all concerned. It became FUN instead of frustrating. Imagine that! Oh, and my students often stayed after the class was over to continue their discussions instead of bolting to their next "teacher."

Lisa P said...

Awesome! I totally agree!

cmcgee said...

Josh,

This is awesome! I love it! I might just resign too!

Mery Pereira said...

Only teachers that inspire and motivate can make that decision!

Cheers

Molly said...

Great concept, I wish that I had resigned a few more times before I retired. And yet, there were days that I did resign, and the students did shine.

Teddi14 said...

Excellent post! I hope it inspires others, especially "old school" teachers, to realize that the times are a changing in education!

Sean Grainger said...

Josh, I totally get the angle of your post, and the tongue in cheek flavor it projects. I am compelled to say, in all honesty that I don't entirely agree with you.

You take what I believe is a serious tone in reference to your old way of "teaching" as a damaging entity in the lives of children. I'm a 17 year teacher and a 27 year lacrosse coach, and in my time as a "guide" in both capacities, I have learned that there are many approaches to effective teaching, and many contexts to fit them in.

I'm uneasy about the dichotomous nature of arguments detailing the "old" way and the "new" way to teach. To be brutally honest, I've seen my share of horribly irresponsible teachers hiding behind the "I'm guiding my students; letting them discover" cover-up for sheer incompetence. I don't disagree with your "guide, a provider, a supervisor, a friend and a learner" assertions, but I would ask, what would you have called your multiple roles before you had this pedagogical epiphany? I would hope despite the things you have given up, like paper and pencil tests, that you wore all of these hats before your perspective change.

Hey, good teaching cannot be reduced to a dichotomous debate over the "bad" things done in the past, and the "revolutionary" things done in the present. There are time-tested pedagogical principles that will continue to endure in teaching and learning. Stay connected to these because I think you'll find if you really think about it you haven't discovered anything new at all... you've just been reintroduced to good teaching that was there all along.
Sean

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Sean,

Thank you greatly for your comment. I do agree with you that we cannot get into a habit of comparing old against the new. I am not saying that what was done prior was not working and I have somehow found a magical potion to solve all the learning problems in my classroom. All I was trying to illustrate was a shift to a more student centered classroom. For me and my classroom, this has shown to be a very effective change. Again, as you pointed out, this is not to say that traditional teaching pedagogy that has existed for generations is not longer working. However, in most traditional settings we are seeing kids fail. I want to find ways in which I can offer the greatest chance of success for my students. As you know, I am willing to try anything to see what will work best as I did with the Mitra experiment.
I also agree with you that the whole “guide” principal is one that can and has been abuse by teachers looking for an easy way out. It is very easy to let the kids loose in a project and say you are guiding them while really doing nothing at all to support the learning. Being a guide is actually much more work than standing in front lecturing and “teaching” kids on a daily basis. Questions and learning opportunities have to be constructed in a delicate manner in order to differentiate for all learners.
Again thank you for your comments and trust that I am not trying to claim some epiphany of educational practice but merely a step in my own personal evolution as a teacher.

Thanks!

Ian said...

Hey Josh,

Yes, skippered. Thank goodness for auto fill. I was going for skillsets. What are the skill-sets and frame of mind that support this type of teaching?

Ian

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Ian,

Good question. I think you have to teach your students how to be independent thinkers. In my own experience the best way that works is by modeling and giving them multiple opportunities to do independent work. This does not mean seat work but structured activities that they can work through on their own. As they gain confidence and success you start pulling the structures away and giving them more freedom.

In my opinion students are hardwired to do this kind of work. They are naturally curious as all kids are. The key to get that curiousity moving toward the learning goals of the class. At the end of the day I still am accountable for state and district standards. However, I am now showing the students where to go but no longer giving them the turn by turn directions.

Joe Bower said...

Nice post.

Your message is a powerful one that far too many people would find perfectly foreign and quite incomprehensible.

Most of the rhetoric around school reform is indistinguishable. The only people who bring authentic ideas are those who have a clue about how children learn.

Because most people don't have a clue how children learn, most school reform is done by standardizing curriculum and assessment while entirely ignoring pedagogy.

John Hobson said...

Josh,

I read your resignation with great interest especially when I realised you were using some of Prof Mitras's ideas. I am probably at the nursery slopes in implementing his ideas, with just a few tentative forays to date.

Do you have do's and don'ts on the way to putting your feet up ;-)

William said...

This is a great post.

My only concern (not with you) is that many schools fail to provide the environment in which this sort of teaching is possible. I've worked in a very, very chaotic urban school, and that sort of learning was not possible given the permissive do-whatever-you-want-with-no-consequence atmosphere.

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

William,

I will agree that this approach does not work in all places at all times. This could be said for any method or style of teaching. I am not naive to think what works in my class will work everywhere. I just hope that people realize that students do learn best by doing and not sitting and listening...that is the key concept behind what I am trying to say.

Thanks for the comment!

Sean Grainger said...

"Students learn best by doing" Proof? In all cases? Define "doing"?

Josh, I'm with you (I think;o) and am involved in action research around the conceptual ideas you are working on too, but personally, I have to say- I learn best by listening (honest.)

Regardless of my personal learning style though, do we not all have particular learning styles and strengths that must be defined by us alone? Gardner, as you know is heavy in this with MI and now the 5 minds (with apology for the long text...)

1 The first of Gardner's 'five' is acquiring a disciplined mind. This involves the mastery of at least one way of thinking and the utilisation of a scientific inquiry approach to solving problems in any area. All disciplines (Learning Areas) have their own ways of investigating ideas. Gardner says it takes many year to achieve a disciplined mind in any area. Discipline also means the need to practice to improve performance.

2 The second is the synthesising mind, a mind able to gather information from disparate sources and put ideas together in ways that makes sense to the learner. This mind is crucial as information continues to mount at dizzying rates. The ability to synthesize ideas is a vital future skill - a skill basic to innovative leadership. Such a mind requires interdisciplinary understanding beyond individual disciplines. A synthesizing mind, one that searches for connections, is required to take advantage of teams made up of different specialists.

3 The third is the creative mind, a mind capable of breaking new ground, developing new ideas and asking new questions. Innovative individuals have not always been treated well in the history of humankind and, even today, are often seen as a mixed blessing. As such creative individuals are seen as very different from disciplined experts. Not for nothing do many creative students find schooling problematic! Encouraging a creative bent of mind is a most important future trait of teachers. It is a sad comment that student creativity lapses as they progress through current schooling. Recognising, nurturing and amplifying students diverse talents will underpin successful future schools

4 The Fourth is the respectful mind, a mind that recognizes differences between individuals, groups and cultures; one that learns to appreciate a sense of 'others'. This mind requires an imaginative leap to enable us to understand others on their own terms. Unfortunately humans exhibit a tendency to value their own groups above others and schools must do its best to mute, or overcome, such proclivities. Differences need to be respected and the earlier this is achieved the better.Respecting students requires that teachers need to reflect on the imposed (undemocratic) power relationship that form the basis of much traditional education. Working together on joint projects is one way to develop respectful relationships.

5 The final mind is the ethical mind which considers how students can serve purposes beyond self interest. This mind takes into account the 'common good' of the wider community particularly under challenging situations or dilemmas. The development of shared beliefs are important to achieve this mind and projects that involve providing a service to others.The ethical mind should be infused into all aspects of the curriculum.

I a well-managed differentiated classroom targeting skill development within these 5 minds of the future (assuming one agrees with Gardner,) would not "doing" be but one potential path to learning? I am a fan of multi-sensory learning... if we can see, hear, touch, taste and smell (interestingly enough the olfactory senses are the most powerfully connected to long-term memory, yet we don't even give it a thought in ed,) as often as possible, I think we're winning, no?
Kudos for your scholarly, action-research focused approach to all of this.
Sean

Carrie said...

Let me know if you need a job!! Love your attitude and philosophy!

Heda said...

Great thinking! I have taken the same path within teaching. That's more like guiding and con the boat. To be a co-learner in the classroom is the best way to be a teacher nowerdays, I think. If you understand what I'm trying to say.

Tricia said...

If I've learned one thing in my 26 years of teaching, it's that students respond well to authentic learning environments such as the one you describe here. Unfortunately, principals don't always have the same reaction. How do we counter those "old school" responses?

Mrs. Tenkely said...

#Awesome

@ICTEvangelist said...

Great post, and it works so well! You might find Jim Smith's "lazy teacher" book gives you even more fuel in this direction.

Sharon said...

I loved this. It goes directly to the heart of teaching. But where and when do you find the time to set up the work for your students?

Rnadom said...

If I'd had teachers who worked this way when I was in high school, I wouldn't have left at 16. Sadly, our lot went through the GCSE curriculum by rote, discovered that only took a year and so did it all again - I went insane with boredom. Still, at least I can dip into the Open University whenever work gets too dull.

Jan Webb said...

I so empathise with what you say! It was such a humbling experience to do some of this with my class and see what they were able to achieve with just the right question here and there (yes, I think sugata mitra's work is immensely important too!)

Jessie said...

Great post! I feel like the same thing is happening in my classroom to an extent. It has taken all year to get to that point though...why is that?

Jessie said...

Great post! I feel like the same is happening in my classroom right now. It has taken all year to get to this point, though. Why is that?

Custom Research Paper said...

Wonderful job!!! Took me time to read all comments but the post sounds wonderful....

Terri said...

I came here from Facebook where one of my friends mentioned a post you had written... then I got interested in other posts... so here I am, commenting! I wonder if you have read the book Inevitable? I believe you would find it interesting.

Hillary Ibbott Neiszner said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post! Cleverly written with a real message about authentic teaching and learning. I read your recent post about your criteria for following people and blogs you read. Personally, I prefer to read something with more voice, less jargon. I can get the research from a book but from a blog I am seeking character, personality, some wit and a thought provoking message that gets to the point! Thanks for providing that!

johann Savalle said...

What can I say... very inspiring, I wish I had a teacher like you when I was at school ;)

Benjamin Gorman said...

I've had some success with this in my own classroom. First of all, you're right to say it's more work, not less. My big focus is on creating models. I teach high school English, mostly. About half my day is 9th grade Language Arts, but I also get to teach some electives for juniors and seniors. I used to do a lot more direct instruction followed by summative quizes and tests. Not only did I feel like I had to put on a show to maintain student interest, but I always doubted if my tests were true measures of student learning. was I asking the right questions? Would they remember any of it for more than a day? Now, when I do direct instruction, it's a model presentation. I essentially say, "Here's what your presentation to the class on subject X might look like. This one would earn a B. Here goes." Then I give a presentation. Then students tell one another what could be added to get an A before getting into groups and figuring out how to out-do me at instructing their peers. After presentations I lead discussions on what other information students might need, correct anything inaccurate, etc. There is a test afterwards, but I even include the students in creating the tests. That teaches them how tests work, which saves me from boring direct instruction test prep lessons for state tests. All in all, though I still have regular crises of confidence, I think it's a much more productive classroom.

One big note: I do have a supportive administration. If someone down in the office didn't like a loud room where students are doing a lot of the direct instruction, it wouldn't work.

Kim said...

This is EXACTLY what we are learning and discovering at uni right now!
I don't think you could have written it any better.
Wish I had the opportunity to visit your class! It would be a wonderful learning experience.
Cheers Josh!
From Australia!

David said...

I'm sharing your post in some new teacher training sessions Josh. Hope they feel comfortable enough to comment on it!

frogart said...

I appreciate your idealism...but in the real wold many classrooms require formal instruction and assessment. Do you ever worry about sending the wrong message to new teachers who do have tenure to protect them!

John Anderson said...

Josh Stumpenhorst speaks about the teacher's roll in the classroom in a way that hits home with my own teaching experience in the fine arts. You have to give students a chance to take responsibility for their own education; and that is a difficult challenge for any teacher. Mr. S is right on the center of the issue of what I believe all teachers in all subjects and grade levels should be doing for their students.(JA)

John Anderson said...

J. Vincent Nix misses the point, of course the teacher is to blame; and that is why teachers like Josh are willing to try new ideas to get directly to the issue of empowering students to learn for themselves; which gets to the main goal of independent risk takers and life long learners. I hope the great proselytizer teacher is a relic of the past. Changing student’s minds does not improve upon the unique and special qualities they have owned all their lives. I believe this is what Josh means when he writes, “the more control I give to [my students], the more they are responding and learning.”
The truth is that like students, teachers are individuals with their own special quirks, interests, and passions. The students recognize a fake in five minutes. Only the real, honest you with empathy for your students and passion for your subject can reach each individual in a way that reveals a mutual respect for each other; and brings out their greatest potential.
JA

Rickard Biology said...

Josh, very excited to find this post. This year, I'm implementing a more student centered classroom. I've always wanted to do "inquiry based learning" but didn't know how to do this in my 7th grade biology classroom. I thought it meant letting the students do whatever they wanted. I didn't know how I could do that and still cover the content standards.

Now I see that I can do this by giving student projects parameters. It's been so interesting to watch these projects unfold. In the past, I spoon fed them the content through Powerpoint presentations using response cards (I thought I was so techie) and cookbook type labs.

At first, students were very insecure with these projects. For example, during a student designed experiment/inquiry lab I showed them a data table in our textbook and told them to create one for the lab they would be doing (I used to draw data tables for them). They would constantly ask me "Am I doing this right?" I would tell them, think about the data you will need to record. You'll find out when you do your experiment and you can revise it." One student told me "we like it better when you tell us what to do."

We are on our third project now, and I they seem to be a little more confident. It's a work in progress for me as well as for them. I like it when they make mistakes. I tell them "It's OK to make mistakes. That's why I don't tell you exactly how to do it. This way you can see for yourself what was good and how you can make it better next time."

And yes, it is a lot of work. At least in the beginning (I hope). I am using technology as well and it has been a steep learning curve for me and the students. But I'm beginning to see the payoff. One of my students who has not put in much effort in the first projects came to me today and said "Do you think I did a good job this time?" He is anxious, because his team is presenting their lab results via their webpage tomorrow. I asked him did he think it was good? He said he thought so. How cool is that! Talk about student motivation!

I think the collaboration element and the sharing out to the class elements are key.

I'm glad you made the comment that you are still responsible for standards. I'm curious to hear about some of the projects you are doing in your classroom. I think my projects are "partial inquiry" within parameters. I'd like to give students MORE freedom. I'd like to hear from you and other teachers, especially middle school biology teachers like myself, to find out how they might be doing this in their student centered classrooms. Thanks a bunch for creating this discussion.

vernonb68 said...

Wow!! When I saw the title, I thought it was really a depressing end to a teacher who had become disillussioned. I believe what oyu wrote and am striving to following your footsteps although new teachers may have a problem as some seem to be minimulists just like some students. Hopefully we can engage them again as well.

Unknown said...

I completely agree with your notion that put a real problem in front of kids, intrinsically motivating and give them the time and resources and they can teach themselves FAR more than they would learn from you in face front discreet skill instruction. That being said, discreet skill instruction has a place in my class. (I want my students to be able to use the language of grammar as an example.) Both streams are important: ability to create and learn from meaningful work and skill development (as in practicing your scales if you want to be more than a noodler)

In my view there are two babies and the bathwater is the obsolete notion that there's only one baby and you've got to choose sides.

Thanks for a great post.

Anonymous said...

I really needed to read this. I found myself to be too controlling last year with my students. I hate when my husband is right;) It's difficult with ELLs because you feel like you need to constantly provide a language model, but in reality they learn more by communicating amongst themselves anyway.

KevinM said...

Second year education student reading this post in my 336 class. Enjoyed the sentiment about the changes taking place in education, and think it is a very exciting time to be getting into the field. Thank you and David Wees for giving me some insight on what teachers really think about the technology age.

Anonymous said...

Be the sage on the stage and get out of their way. Only by taking control of their own learning will true learning take place. Did I forget to tell you to bring along a ton of patience, courage, trust and belief in the human condition of curiosity? Don't worry...

Nasreen Naeemullah said...

I think this is an excellent vision. You are implementing it as well, instead of complaining of the way things are and not doing anything about it. The play on words draws the reader in and gets one to realize the impact of your message. I wonder if you have gotten the support of your school administrators? As long as you are still giving students the required curriculum and standards to be learned, a teacher is free to teach/guide however they want to for their students, right? Some ideas I got from this blog is that not only are students not motivated when told what to do, they learn to depend on the teacher when they can not figure something out. A teacher/guide that seriously gets them to truly find the answers out themselves will be giving them a huge life skill that will take them very far.