4 December 2017

With a Little Help for Educators - A Teaching Resource to Explore

Toa Heftiba

Time and time again, I hear the same statements from learners- I was soooooo bored! The lesson was soooooo boring! 

This state of semi-permanent boredom in classes is not restricted to only teens and young adults - but to teacher trainees as well. Despite the richness of resources for active learning,  so easily available today, there are still lessons where reading from a PPT  (or even just sitting and listening to a pre-recorded PPT) seems to be the norm. Reading from a PPT is merely that, i.e. reading aloud in front of an audience who probably is literate to begin with.  Little wonder that boredom shuts down any chance of learning. 

Learning is an active process. There needs to be a healthy dose of curiosity, of humour, of reassurance that not succeeding at first is part of the learning process. And though to be original and creative is not that simple for many, it is necessary to keep an open mind as an educator, to encourage different learning approaches instead of only repeating the same formatted  PPT endlessly or the same stale teaching "method"  (who doesn't know that teacher who takes pride in publicly saying that he/she will only use one particular method, regardless that there are many different options for learning and teaching today?) - it simply won't foster learning anymore. 

Bryan Minear

And why should it when there are search engines which so quickly serve up a range of facts and figures to so many questions that learners may have in lessons? 

One approach to deal with this is what Steve Wheeler calls ungoogleable questions, i.e. giving students questions which demand more than a click of a button. 

Yet, as educators well know, learning and teaching is much more than having all the answers or in fact, much more than providing answers. 

If teaching may be understood as modelling good practices, then as educators we need to  regularly reflect upon them. As educators, we also need to push our limits, seek new approaches which will stimulate curiosity and an appetite for learning. As educators we need to give learners the space and time to practice, to create and not only consume knowledge. 

Applied Digital Skills (a free technology curriculum aligned with ISTE), provides free lessons  for teachers to dip into and use or adapt to their teaching context. Each lesson indicates the necessary time, level (i.e. who it is most suitable for), a focus on the skills which are meant to be developed, as well as a rubric. If-Then Adventure Stories is an example of an interactive lesson with Google Slides - which could be adapted with the use of other visual tools. 

Joshua Newton

There are so many digital resources today, so many great educators who are regularly sharing ideas for teaching, so many fantastic ways to tell stories, to focus the learning process on the interests and abilities of learners, that when educators complain that their students are not engaged, when learners still shrug with boredom from their lessons, it is certainly time to stop and to look carefully at why this happening. 

How do you light the fire of learning?

Further Suggestions:

24 of the Best Writing Prompts for Middle School Students

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