A lot of teachers struggle with getting their students interested and engaged in lessons. Here are some practical tips to encourage more participation, interest, and knowledge retention. Continue Reading ›
What do we talk about when we talk about e-learning?
In the past, most courses and learning activities fell on one side of a dichotomy: they were either instructor-led or computer-based, either online or off, either synchronous or asynchronous. Today, the distinction is not quite so clear. Although there are still plenty of e-learning-only courses, blended courses are becoming increasingly popular from elementary to corporate classrooms. Even courses that may not specifically be “blended” are incorporating more digital elements and activities. In this new environment, e-learning is becoming less of a special category and more just a way to describe what happens in classrooms everywhere, every day. Continue Reading ›
I distinctly remember staying late, late on a Friday night my second year of teaching so that I could finish all of my grading and planning for the next week.
I loved the idea of having a whole weekend to myself for once, but I didn’t actually think about what I would do with it once I had it. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling optimistic and free and by 1:15pm when I still hadn’t really moved from my bed, dread started to creep in. I had no idea really what to do with this free time. Completely forgot what I actually liked to do. It was the worst day ever.
I ate a Hungry Man dinner at 4:00pm.
If you are like me and are in danger of having that happen to your entire summer, or even just a couple of weeks of it, I have some ideas for you. Continue Reading ›
One thing about education as a profession—the grass is never allowed to grow under a teacher’s feet for very long. There’s always something new coming down the pike, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does induce a kind of professional dizziness from time to time. Adapting to the “next new thing” is always a challenge, especially if it moves from the periphery onto the center stage in classroom practices. The most recent concept in education is personalized learning, not to be confused with differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction addresses how lessons are delivered to students, based on their individual needs. Personalized learning is more complex.
In its purest form, personalized learning allows students to choose what they will study and to proceed at their own pace in meeting individual goals. Implementing it requires four instructional strategies, which are summarized in “Personalized Learning: A Working Definition”:
- Continual assessment as a student progresses toward “clearly-defined goals,” with the student advancing and earning credit after demonstrating mastery.
- Learning environments designed to meet students’ needs in reaching their goals.
- Customized “learning paths” based on each student’s progress, motivations, and goals.
- Up-to-date “learner profiles” that chart each student’s strengths, needs, motivations, and goals.
That’s a lot to do after taking attendance! Seriously, it’s a lot to do period, and the current demands of standardized testing make personalized learning seem like a classroom fantasy. It’s a great idea, though, so what can be done to personalize learning in a system based on covering a specific curriculum in a limited amount of time? Apparently, quite a bit, starting with learner profiles. Continue Reading ›
Students use their social media accounts all day long—likely both in and out of school. Meet them on their turf by assigning homework to be completed on various social media websites. Students will be excited to use the websites they love, and you can take lessons outside the classroom and bring them into the real world. Continue Reading ›
Last month the first Global Teacher Prize—$1,000,000—was awarded by the Varkey Foundation to an educator in Maine, Nancie Atwell. Described as the “Nobel Prize in teaching,” the award received a lot of publicity, and Atwell made the news when she won it. During an interview with CNN, she said that the current emphasis on standards and standardized testing is “a movement that’s turned teachers into technicians, not reflective practitioners.” Considering that she has forty-plus years of teaching experience and has now been recognized essentially as the best teacher in the world, her assessment of the profession deserves attention. It also raises questions about current trends in professional development. Continue Reading ›
Teacher’s Corner is a monthly newsletter from eNotes just for teachers. In it, experienced educator and eNotes contributor Susan Hurn shares her tips, tricks, and insight into the world of teaching. Check out this month’s Teacher’s Corner column below, or sign up to receive the complete newsletter in your inbox at eNotes.com.
I recently read an article by Laura Katan in which she shares an anecdote I keep thinking about. At a fair, Katan saw a ten-year-old boy and his mom pass a massage vendor, and she heard the mother ask her son, “Do you want a massage? It may relax you.” Katan recalls she was “incredulous” as she overheard the comment. “Since when do 10-year-olds need to relax?” she asks. Well, apparently now. In fact, there seems to be a lot of kids who need to relax, and most of them are in our classrooms. Continue Reading ›