What Have You Been Thinking About?

Whether you’re a teacher, a parent, a student, or just a citizen of the world who believes that learning is important, you may be thinking about new problems or dwelling on old fears or puzzles as the school year begins.  Maybe you’d like to hear what others have to say about your burning questions or personal philosophies about teaching, learning, and living in the world.  Maybe you’d like me to write about a specific topic and solicit input from others.

Are you a teacher who has a concern as you return to the classroom?  A parent who’s been pondering a new situation your child is encountering in school?  A student who often wonders how teachers think about a particular experience?  A blogger who would like to hear more about an educational topic you’ve been writing about?  A career waiter or CEO who is thinking of returning to school and has a lot of concerns?

If there’s a particular topic you’d like me to write about on this blog, get in touch with me.  You can leave a suggestion in the comments; visit my contact page to send your suggestion via a contact form;  or visit my Facebook page, “Like” it if you haven’t already, and post a suggestion on my wall.

My goal this semester is to post every Monday and Thursday.  We all know what good intentions are made of, and this is a goal, not a rule!  However, the more suggestions I receive, the more I will have to think and write about.

Thanks so much for your continued readership.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Image by Svilen Milev

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13 responses

  1. I am constantly wondering what I should be doing with my textbook. Yes, I realize I need to teach, but sometimes I wonder what sorts of activities I can do with the stories in the textbook while realizing that the students need to read the story for most of them to work, and half of them won’t do that if they don’t get time in class to read.

    I guess I feel like I don’t teach enough sometimes. We talk about the basis for the story, and I give them a focus and let them read. Doesn’t always feel like an effective classroom. You know?

    • Very interesting, CH. I see a number of different topics in here. How do we use textbooks effectively? How do we get students to do the required reading? How much class time should be dedicated to direct “teaching” and how much should be for activities that won’t get done if we don’t do them in class? These are all good food for thought – and for writing – and things I wonder about myself…I’m sure I can get at least a couple of posts out of these subjects. Thank you!

  2. I recently graduated college, but I have a one year old and I’m going into a graduate program about Children’s literature. What concerns me is the cultural shift of social media and technology; are kids entering the classroom with 4G phones and laptops? How does that change the learning experience? Better or worse? And how does all this new technology and cultural sharing change the way kids are taught, or how books are written for children? I’m excited to see what you can come up with! Good luck in your own learning experiences :)

    • Pattie: these are questions that mean a lot to me, too – I am especially interested in the use and abuse of technology in classrooms at the primary and secondary classrooms, before I meet students in college. It’s always a hot topic – I will put together a post and ask for input from teachers/students at all levels. Thank you!

      • I admit I’m rather glad to see the phrase “use and abuse”, and not just abuse… Too many teachers have a strange fixation that technology is somehow “bad”. I had a grammar teacher last year who would spend hours going on why computers are bad (strange, as she wasn’t older than 25 or so). I spent those classes planning a computer program that would be an easy tool for analyzing sentences. One way or another, I learned more grammar on the net than from her (the class wasn’t English grammar: this is my third language, in fact…) Wikipedia explains things better than the textbook did, and she only read us the textbook.

  3. It is a strange feeling for me to not be starting the school year as a teacher. After more than 20 years in the profession- teaching middle school English and college literacy, I’m not employed. I’ll be focusing on my writing. But once a teacher, always a teacher and I find many of my posts include lesson ideas. What am I worried about? The reliance on technology in place of reading; the lack of play- read about Finland’s education system- they seem to do it right; and the emphasis on standardized testing that pervades US education, replacing creativity and learning with rote memorization. We’re not raising readers, writers and independent learners.
    Have a great school year!

    • CG – These are all great ideas – I will add them to the list! I too am interested in the emphasis on standardized test in the US, and would be interested in drawing some comparisons with Canada. And play! What an important topic.

  4. I always love hearing how others handle large class sizes. With funding being cut, my classes are growing dramatically. With so many kids with so many needs, it’s hard to feel like I’m doing enough!*

  5. Great idea to solcit ideas! I have been in college education for over 30 years as both an English teacher and administrator. I am sure more ideas will come to me later to share, but ideas I have been toying with are how to assess learning vs. giving grades, how to evaluate teachers so active learning and student success are part of the review, and best ways to help orient new teachers to a campus. Your commitment may spark me to be more productive as well. Thanks.

    • Again, great ideas – and you are not the only one who’s brought up the topic of evaluation vs. grades, Patti (I did a bit of research for a while on gradeless universities, and would like to look into that again…)

  6. As a mom, I would love to hear your take regarding “gifted” education. As a teacher, how about some ideas for handling classroom dynamics? Some kids want to constantly comment, but the smartest are often the quietest. How can we get them more involved? How do we subdue the chronic commenters?

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