Monday, April 28, 2008

Direct Instruction

The latest educational fad seems to be a pendulum swing back to teacher-led direct instruction. I'd like to see it in practice, working, before I make any judgments. Regardless of its effectiveness, I like the fact that discussion of teaching methods has directed my attention back to the ageless question: How can I be a better teacher?

I watched a ridiculous number of Top Chef episodes last night. In one, the losing chef Manuel mentioned that he made certain choices because he wanted to learn from his partner. The critic pointedly scoffed, "Don't you believe it is a little too late to learn from someone else at this point in the competition?" He answered unequivocally, "Absolutely not." I can't cook, but I can appreciate the humility of someone who loves his craft.


Blogger Colleen said...

hey you are back! i missed ya

5:51 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

We love Top Chef! I don't think it's ever too late to learn from someone who is better than you at doing something you love, or even someone who might have some new and interesting ideas. One of the first year teachers in my building was shocked when I came to him for advice on a student, but he knows the kid better than I do, and I need to reach him somehow. There's always more to learn!

4:05 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

What do you think about the direct instruction method? I wonder if it might be useful now because our kids are all over the place outside of the classroom and need somewhere to learn how to behave in an office/school environment. Other methods don't necessarily lend themselves to that. Not every profession allows you to collaborate.

4:07 AM  
Blogger Old Man Rich said...

Its never to late to learn.
But sometimes its just to hard.
Old dogs & new tricks you see.
At a certain age (mine) its much more satisfying to endlessly repeat the same mistakes, growing ever more bitter...

That said, when it comes to enlightening young & receptive minds I tend towards the bag of sweets & electric cattle prod scenario...

5:57 AM  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Looks like you had time off like me, don't know if I can be arsed to blog often but we'll see.

Hope you and yours is well.


6:32 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Last year, my son was sitting in tears at the table over his homework. He was doing multiplication using two digit numbers. He had the answer immediately--math comes easy to him. What was frustrating was the instruction that required him to show three different processes to arrive at this number. The biggest problem was that his version (the one I taught him in kindergarted--multiply the ones and carry the tens) was NOT ALLOWED.

The fact that he came up with the correct answer was apparently immaterial.

I think the best teaching style is the one that gets students to learn, not the one that is handed down by decree.


7:07 AM  

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