Today’s challenge – teaching differently! Many of our mindsets go back to traditional 20th Century teaching models that are:
- Textbook driven
- Passive learning
- Teacher-centered: teacher is center of attention and provider of information
- Print is the primary vehicle of learning and assessment
- Lessons focus on the lower level of Bloom’s Taxonomy – knowledge, comprehension, and application
Some say – This is the way we were brought up! This teaching style worked for us, so it will work for them! Yet we need to teach differently today. How we will do this will come with grace, time, and creativity! We need to listen for the stories of the “best practices” that are possible.
I’d like to share a pioneer “best practice” story with you. I met Joy Jenkins at a conference. As we chatted, I learned that she was changing her teaching position from Math to Bible History in a public school system . Her recent email to me shares the following:
Currently I am writing the curriculum for Bible History in 6th, 7th and 8th grade as well as overlaying 21st Century skills. The process has been challenging, but amazing. We have been studying the Persian Empire. Students are using iPod touches, MacBooks and digital cameras for their learning. Student created projects have included the use of PhotoBooth, GarageBand, Comic Life, iMovie, digital cameras, iPhoto, Green Screen, iWebb, Keynote, Stickies, Pages and of course iTunes! Students also used iPods to hear podcasts from the text, calculate math problems, research and take notes. Student projects included self projects, iMovies, video journals, email, on-line surveys and blogs. I have only had the students for 9-weeks, but we have been able to accomplish many things. I have also used EDU 2.0 as a class resource.
Everything has been project based learning as my classroom has been a paperless classroom.
So what makes this possible? First – creativity! Joy sees the potential of what can be done with what is available today in the classroom! She has a VISION! (Do we not say without a vision, we perish!) Yes, after the vision there is funding (in this case from outside resources). Many of us are bemoaning the fact that our budgets keep getting cut. However, do we have a vision to invite others to join and support? Here’s a bit of Joy’s vision –
Just so you know a little bit about me, I am a public school 21st Century Model Classroom teacher for the Rowan Salisbury School System in North Carolina. I am also the AT&T Northwest Region 7 Teacher of the Year for North Carolina 2010 – 2011. When I decided to change from math to Bible History, many colleagues thought I was crazy. But I saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to merge Bible History and 21st Century skills. I am very aware that I have a unique and wonderful opportunity.
Wow! Bible History merits the unique and wonderful opportunity of merging Bible History and 21st Century Skills into the teaching of this wonderful subject! What would the teaching of our faith be like if all of us could have the same drive and passion as Joy with what we are teaching our children today?
What would our teaching be like if we just integrated one technology tool into our weekly class sessions? Surely that is possible, even on a bare bones budget!
What is our question for this week? What do I need so that I can achieve the same passion and purpose as Joy has in her teaching mission? If you would, share your spark, so that we are “igniting” one another to teach differently!
Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny