Monday, December 13, 2010

students know good teaching when they see it.

That might come as a surprise to some who have been out of touch. But students do know what happens in a classroom. They know whether or not the teacher cares about the subject matter and whether he cares that they care, too. A study financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is described in the New York Times, What Works in the Classroom? Ask the Students By Sam Dillon. It concludes that those teachers who teach to the test perform below average on getting students engaged in learning, and those students perform poorly in comparison to those who learn to care about what they learn. Is there anything new in this except that those who are out of touch need research to tell them that kids know effective teaching when they see it? This morning my 4th 5th and 6th grade student worked on Christmas presents to give to family.

In the photos above and at left, you can see students at work on the lathe in this afternoon's classes. Colter is making a walnut goblet and displaying amazing concentration. The other students decided to turn balls... not an easy task for beginning woodworkers, but one that refines the sense of form, and also requires concentration and careful tool use.  Some turned out more egg than ball, but then remember that these are beginners. The strategy fits one of the primary tenets of educational sloyd. Start with the interests of the child.

Make, fix, create... One of the things that kids tell me when I see them on the street is "Next woodshop, can we make...?" They have all kinds of ideas., and I wonder how many kids in the US are busy thinking of things they can make. Too few, perhaps.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a concept! Maybe people will now admit that students aren't stupid just because they're not educated.

Mario