- On 21-01-2013
As many of you who read this blog know it is the week before the school year starts in Australia. It is a great time to reflect about last year and to begin creating the year before the students hit the classes.
As a way of beginning your year without stressing you out too much but giving you something that will inspire you and help you set a context for the year we decided to fill this first blog of the year with resources, through provoking articles, and inspiring videos. If you haven’t figured it out yet … this is how we work with schools – that’s why we get such great results and feedback!
This is a fabulous video which shows the heart and soul of a Physics teacher who truly engages students in Science but also tells the story of his life about why he Science is so critical to him.
Boys experience particular challenges to learning. My son is just hitting the teenage years and his ability to be distracted and avoid doing what needs to be done around school work (whether in the class or at home) is legendary in my house! Thankfully we have friends who put them onto Barry McDonald’s blog and books. The January newsletter of Mentoring Boys (Motivation_Jan2013) discusses some ideas behind how parents (and teachers) can support a boy’s internal motivation to achieve. Barry uses a lot of learning references we also use in our work.
Choice Words and Acknowledgement
As a reinforcement of the concepts covered in Barry’s article, the following two articles highlight how teacher’s use of language and acknowledgement can develop students to become empowered learners. Choice Words explores how teachers can support student identity by the language the use. Use Acknowledgments More Than Praise discusses the importance of acknowledgement rather than praise as a way of empowering the self-esteem of a young person. If you self-reflect as a teacher, you will find it is on those occasions you emphasised and recognised effort and persistence, that your ‘struggling’ students started to shift. It is worth passing on some of these articles to your parental communities.
When Students Seem Stalled
One of the key conversations we have with teachers is to discuss with them what structures they have in place to develop students to think in the way that they (they teachers) want them to think. Quite often the teaching cohort identify quite a few structures but what they often realise is that the teaching team is not consistent in codifying and applying the structures to build particular thinking in the students. In this article from Educational Leadership (When Students Seem stalled – cognitive development), Betty Garner discusses the importance of developing cognitive structures to support those students who just “don’t get it”.
As a short anecdote, one teacher that Adrian coached last year shared how it was a Year 10 Maths teacher who sat down with her in Year 10 and listened and gave her the way to think about her maths that inspired her to become a teacher – and she is a brilliant teacher!
Adolescence – a biological essential?
We have often heard (and experienced in some cases) the challenge of dealing with teenagers. Why do we have a teen phase in our evolution? We have heard other ways of expressing this which haven’t been quite so diplomatic! The research report Adolescence – critical evolutionary adaptation covers a lot of ground but it examines the biological necessity of adolescence in the survival of the human species. It also points to the importance of cognitive apprenticeship as a learning approach for this critical time in a young person’s life. I have also attached an article about what Cognitive Apprenticeship actually means – making thinking visible.
If you are interested in what we can provide for you and your school check out our 2013 Scope of Works document, or simply contact Adrian at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is a no commitment conversation and if we can’t assist you then we certainly can point you to someone or somewhere you can find out more.
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