Are boys lost in the classroom?
I’ve noticed that when I have a female substitute, the boys in my 8th grade classes get in trouble. When I have a male substitute, they do not. I don’t think the issue is with the substitute (nor their gender) as these are good teachers with successful track records. So the other 8th grade teacher and I did a bold experiment.
When Less is More
Recently I read an article at Smithsonian.com that told how Finland’s educational system had gone from a distant also-ran to a world leader over the past 40 years.
In a global study in 2000, Finnish students were first in reading. In 2003 they led in math. By 2006 they were first in science.
I just finished reading Mindset by Carol Dweck, Ph.D., a book that explains how our thinking determines our progress in education and other fields. Dweck shows that sometimes we have a fixed mindset about a subject, and sometimes we have a growth mindset. Statements such as, “I was never very good at math,” or “I was born with no musical talent,” reflect a fixed mindset. It is the idea that our intelligence is fixed and static. Some have a talent for this and some have a talent for that, but there is very little we can do about that. On the other hand, “yet,” is a favorite word of the growth mindset. “I’m not good at math yet.”
I give up!” How often do we hear our students say that in the classroom? What causes them to quit so quickly in the learning process when they will persevere for hours on a video game? How do we foster perseverance in our students?
These are questions that teacher, author, and consultant Rick Wormeli addressed in an article published recently in Association of Middle Level Education (AMLE) magazine.
He based his answers on the work of psychologist Carol Dweck who promotes a growth mindset
We make a difference!
Recently I saw a link on Facebook to a YouTube video by Taylor Mali titled “What Teachers Make” (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5yg0u1MkDI). In this pointed video, Taylor makes us all proud of our contribution as teachers. In my early and challenging years as a new teacher many decades ago, it seemed that no matter how tough the school year had been, there was always one student who said something that made it all worthwhile.
I’ve been teaching middle grades for over three decades, so you’d think this would be second nature to me. In some ways it is, but trying to understand adolescent behavior is like pushing spaghetti upstairs – assuming you’ve tried to do that. I always learn
For some reason, math teachers tend to hear, “When are we ever gonna use this?” more than teachers in other content areas. I have often thought about this fact and wondered about the reason for its prevalence in the math classroom. Is math truly something that we don’t use outside of the classroom walls? Is proficiency in math not necessary for success in college? Of course these are questions that we can answer with a resounding, “No.” I suspect that the answer runs deeper than that.
My eighth grade students expect that the first day of school will be spent learning all their new teacher’s rules, so they are surprised to hear me say that I don’t have any rules in my class. “You can do whatever you want, as long as you are willing to accept the consequences.”
One time I began the year with that statement when one of my bolder students blurted, “So can I hit her?”
For the last few months, we have been discussing an article in Fox Business by Michael Stallard, president of E Pluribus Partners titled “6 Needs to Thrive at Work”. I mentioned that Stallard’s principles apply as easily to the classroom environment as they do to the workplace. The first need that employees–and our students–have is the need for respect. The second is recognition. This month we will explore our students’ third need: belonging.
In my previous post I referenced an article in Fox Business by Michael Stallard, president of E Pluribus Partners titled “6 Needs to Thrive at Work”. I decided to apply these six needs to the classroom environment to explore how we can improve our working environment at school and maximize student engagement and success. The six needs are:
· Personal Growth
In this article, we will take a look at the second need, recognition.
We just completed our third and final awards assembly of the year. As my 8th graders received their awards for academic honors and attendance, I began to wonder if they were the same students who received those awards the previous year and the years before that. If that is the case, then a small fraction of my students are receiving this level of recognition. How are the larger majority of the students who remain watching from the bleachers being recognized?
Brad Fulton is an award winning teacher and nationally recognized provider of professional development with over three decades of experience in education.
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