Posts Tagged ‘Teacher’

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Photo 238/365: Lesson plan book #edugood

Photo 238/365: Lesson plan book #edugood (Photo credit: buistbunch)


this echoes what I found in my dissertation work: that blog writings, even though fueled by passion, were not acknowledged (still aren’t) as academic writing in journals.

Similarly, professional craft-work writing, like lesson plans, is also undervalued, even though lesson plans that are taught by 100 faculty peers, and which go thru the wringer of 1500 students annually, are among the most intensely peer reviewed of all writings, since people actually have to use them


Reflections on Grading classroom participation

January 5, 2013 Leave a comment

I like to use a scoring system from 0-3 (Hattip to Professor Dave Garvin at Harvard)


3- added significantly to the discussion with an insight that shows evidence of synthesis and/or deep insight

2 – contributed in a meaningful professional way that demonstrates appropriate mastery of the subject and evidence of preparation for class

1- attended but was a free rider in the discussions, did not contribute to the learning of others

0 – did not attend

Some people learn by talking and hearing their thoughts and through collaborative dialogue. If they say it 9 times wrong and then 1 time correct when they finally get it, did their 10 “contributions” outweigh the participative value of the introvert who has carefully prepared their insight, and offers a single cogent, deeply penetrating insightful summary that makes us all smarter?.

Participation grades are not “merely” opinion. A professional opinion, inhabiting the land between pure objectivity and pure subjectivity, is an opinion that is informed by both theory and practice and carries more weight than “just an opinion”. This point of view reflects a consideration of teaching as “craft” in which informed judgment is more than “just an opinion”. The judgment is not absolute, can be judged by peers and students, and be subject to calibration and standards of evidence like all craft work.

One of my concerns with grading participation concerns the motivation to participate: we want people to participate as a way to encourage an inquiring mind for its own sake, and not in order to meet a minimum number of speaking events in public to secure a grade. It seems to me that the effect of the contribution on others and as a window into the preparation and thought processes of the student is more important than the motivation behind the offering, and so, to “reward” the participator, and to respect the effort they put into the participation, it seems fair to assign grades for participation based on professional judgment. Studies of allowing anonymous peer grading demonstrate that in adult education peers are pretty well aligned with teacher judgments about quality of contribution.


willing to do anything for work…really?

July 24, 2011 1 comment

I work for money. I have managed to find 2 careers where i love what I do, but if they stopped paying me, I’d stop doing that because I am a father with kids to feed and work for money > work for satisfaction.

until Americans are willing to do the jobs that Americans arent willing to do, the rhetoric about “I’m willing to do anything…” is simply rhetoric

my resume at age 53:
in HS:
unskilled labor in landscaping
unskilled machine operator in manufacturing

in college:
security guard (for 2 years to earn enough money to complete my education; had to take a break in undergraduate studies when i ran out of money, and wouldnt take a student loan)

after college:
HS teacher (1 year; a horrible experience: hell is other teachers in the teacher lounge)
enlisted in Army, truckdriver (3 years)
Army officer (22 years)
College professor 10 years (and ongoing)
Small business owner 15 years (and ongoing)

More on the science of learning, social constructionism, language and teaching

October 25, 2010 6 comments

A segment of a social network
Image via Wikipedia
this is really powerful for the teachers out there among us
a powerful summary of links to education and learning research that supports so much of the social-constructionist worldview, as well as the pragmatist, but with a solid foundation in objectivism, and which therefore supports advocacy for access to technologies for everyone
makes a science based case for learning and reveals the amazing social computational engine that is the brain, and the power of language.
reinforces for the power and importance of mindfulness int he classroom and the importance of modelling the behavior as  a teacher/learner that you hope your students will adopt as student/learners

Building a master Powerpoint file (or image dB) to support wide ranging discussions

August 25, 2010 2 comments

Microsoft PowerPoint Icon
Image via Wikipedia

a terrific discussion here on the idea of having a 2500 slide Powerpoint master file

my reflection:

I use this exact technique when teaching Army Change Management and Army Sustainment

i have over 500 slides that illustrate certain points, many of which are cleaned up versions of story-boarding explanations i have used to clarify various issues over the years. I save them all by group/theme in 1 large file, and Ican call them up as needed to help visualize etc. Many of the little speeches associated with them I have produced as short YouTube style narratives using the slide as the visual and make them available to students. It is very freeing; i can call up support slides immediately and i always have the complete resource for any  presentation, which lets the conversation go where it naturally wants to and i can act as a guide.

In my private business as an equity trader and educator for stock traders i use the same technique and i have several thousands concept and practice case study slides that are in my master deck or stored as image files with a file naming nomenclature that allows for instant retrieval: not 1 PPT file but the same concept

i can also build subsets for particular audiences/themes lessons from the master.

bottom line: i always have 1 master file that contains EVERY interesting slide i have ever made

Size: less of an issue with Terabyte HDs but my 500 slide deck comes in at 40M: judicious use of graphics and .png image format

Creating a positive environment in the classroom

May 25, 2010 5 comments

Jewish Children with their Teacher in Samarkan...
Image via Wikipedia

A positive classroom environment comes from the interaction of faculty and students in the curriculum. Here are some tips that can help you maintain the positive energy that is so helpful for creating an effective learning climate.

Model the positive enthusiasm as a teacher that you hope your students will demonstrate when they come to your class. You’ve got to lead the way when it comes to establishing a positive energy. You’ve got to communicate your excitement in the topic and the feeling that this is the best place that we can be for the next two hours.

Keep in mind the connection of this particular class to be positive goal at the end of the course or the semester or the school year were the degree program. We’ve got to see how each of these lessons contributes to the greater whole. In that way we can tap into the positive energy associated with the ultimate goal.

We’ve got to remember that we are social animals involved in a collaborative learning process in the classroom. As such, we’ve got to acknowledge our human need for connection and authenticity. Try starting each class with a check in in which everyone has an opportunity to share those pieces of their lives outside the classroom that they find important. It helps us appreciate who they are and it brings a rich human dimension to the classroom environment that will pay off and everything else that we do.

Similarly, we want to end each class with a check out to give everyone a chance to acknowledge what it is that was most meaningful for them or perhaps even their biggest unanswered questions.

Another technique is to solicit those biggest unanswered questions at the end of our class in order for you to do some follow-up research that you will get back to them in writing  within 48 hours. In this way there is a sense of a continuing adventure into knowledge associated with your class that makes them want to come back for more.

Finally,nmake sure you are encouraging rich participation of the students. You can do this by asking them to do some outside reading and bring in one new fact or resource not contained in the syllabus in order to introduce an element of surprise to our discussions. It’s amazing how valuable these outside contributions can be.

Good luck and keep up the flow!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thought experiment for contract teachers

April 22, 2010 3 comments

Interior of one of the 15 walk-in freezers in ...
Image via Wikipedia

in your capacity as a contract employee as a teacher, did you find that your employer’s request for you to offer expert advice conflicted with your perceived role as a teacher?

One of our most important learnings about the use of contract services in the Department of Defense are the challenges of asking contractors to go beyond the boundaries of their formal statement of work. This can lead to either violating contract limits or incurring additional costs and risks when a contractor goes beyond the boundaries.

Have you had similar experiences when working inside an organization but as a contract employee? Do your peers have the same work relationship or is there a mixture of inside and outside personnel? If so, how does your management and leadership handle a work force coming from two separate places like that?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]