What's teaching?

Everybody talks about wanting good teaching. It would be nice if as a first step someone would define 'teaching'.

So far as a body can tell, listening to the discussion, teaching is whole-class instruction -- which has to be combined, of course, with 'classroom management'. A good teacher, Bill Gates said several times to the Education Commission of the States in Atlanta in July, "calms the classroom".

Endlessly it's "classroom" . . . "classroom" . . . "classroom".

But in the classroom are 25 or 30 students who differ, sometimes widely, in their backgrounds, interests, aptitudes, motivations and levels of attainment.

What's a teacher supposed to do to get rapt attention from so diverse a group? Who exactly is s/he teaching? The low-attainment students? Those at the 'high' end? The group in the middle?

Some years back a number of us in Education Evolving spent a long afternoon with Jack Frymier, listening to him talk about that.

He presented a totally different concept of teaching and of 'good teaching'; one that departs dramatically from the notion of whole-group instruction. You can read that, listen to him, in these notes.

I'd be much interested to hear what you think about Frymier's concept of teaching; of the teacher's job.

In a week or two I'll write about a teacher in a district near Saint Paul who has done what Jack urged; has adapted the learning-activity in his (third-grade) classroom to the interests and abilities of the individual student. It's a fascinating story, with big policy implications. I hope you'll write me about that, too.

Comments

Thank you! I will read Jack's notes shortly... but, before I would like to share my thoughts about education.
The best way to learn & teach for me is from the heart. We all have one! Then why not connect the dots wisely?
Obviously among us there are real spiritual Masters, they should be the ones who lead the way.
Love & Light & BLessings to all!

Hi Heather, I am a full supporter of kpieeng blogs open. In fact, all that I do in my class is open all blogs, wikis, voicethreads, wallwishers etc. By doing so, I have had to teach cyber safety constantly (and this is almost a daily/weekly session as we all need constant reminding of this). However, by kpieeng our blogs open, students have an authentic audience, have collected many dots on their clustrmaps, gained some wonderful comments and feedback, been highly motivated to write well and present an attractive blog etc. One real success story has been that of edw.ooo2.globalstudent.org.au/2009/10/11what-makes-a-good-teacher/ In this post, Rachael added a link to her text movie that she had made on what makes a good teacher . She tagged it with those exact words and ended up getting a comment from a professor at a university in the USA stating that she was going to show her teacher education students, Rachael's post so that they could see what a young student liked. (At this stage the comments have disappeared with the reformatting of edublogs, so will need to try and help her display them again.) How motivating and valuable is that for young students!

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