Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Comments for Teachers #2

Dr. Strange's Strange Thoughts: a Blog by Dr. John Strange

Blog Post #1: Facts

Dr. John Strange is a professor of Professional Studies at the University of South Alabama. I have the pleasure of having him as my professor in EDM310. I was assigned to his blog for my second Comments For Teachers assignment. The first blog post of Dr. Strange's that I read was entitled "Facts." In this post, Dr. Strange expressed his opinions on the irrelevance of facts in education. He met someone in New Jersey on their Board of Education who was so happy that they were requiring children to learn specific dates in history (i.e. Civil War dates). Dr. Strange went on to say that we should be worrying about teaching children how to gather information and evidence in order to be able to answer a question. We should not be teaching them to simply spit out a date. Lastly, Dr. Strange talked about how students cannot find accurate facts online in fear that they aren't correct. You never know if something is a true fact or not, so why bother with making that a requirement?

In my comment, I totally agreed with Dr. Strange. I expressed to him that I was a history education major and would be dealing with facts for the rest of my career. Even with that so, I informed Dr. Strange that I felt that we should be teaching our students about concepts and deep thinking. We should not be telling them minuscule facts and expect them to memorize them for a test. I often talk about how teachers today are made to "teach a test." This is evidently so in schools today; you can pick up any student's test in any class and see that it is generally multiple choice, with factual questions. Why don't we challenge our students? Being challenged is what they need in order to use their brains the way they were meant to be used!

Blog Post #2: Lectures

In this blog post, Dr. Strange speaks about lectures and how today, they are being questioned as to their effectiveness. He provides information about a man named Jeffrey Young, who wrote about a couple of teachers at Kansas State University with conflicting views on lecturing. One was an anthropologist named Wesch, and he believed that we should find new ways of teaching. According to him, the goal in teaching is for the professor to form a bond with the student. The second, a physics professor named Sorenson, strongly believed in lecturing. He felt as though a professor had to lecture in a way that their students would become interested in the subject, like a salesman with a sales pitch. Dr. Strange spoke of a few pros and cons of lecturing. Some positives are that they are cost effective in relation to credit hours, and they can create interest in a subject. On the other hand, students do not have long attention spans, and lectures tend to be too long; because of this, the learning isn't effective.

In my comment, I agreed with Dr. Strange's post. I let him know that I felt that students have become used to "fast service." They don't get instant gratification learning from lectures because you actually have to study the material, instead of it clicking in your mind. I also told Dr. Strange that I would love to use different types of teaching methods once I graduate with my Secondary Education degree in history. I want to have projects in which students constructively work together and learn new things. Maybe I can even incorporate videos to help students learn better. I also hope to somehow use Google tools as well. I have learned so much about them in my EDM310 class, and I hope to pass those skills on to my students!

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