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TEACHERS.NET GAZETTE
Volume 3 Number 7

COVER STORY
Barbara & Sue Gruber help us "to stay energized and enthusiastic about teaching" during our summer break...
ARTICLES
Five Reasons to Stop Saying "Good Job!" by Alfie Kohn
Prepare for Discouragement? by Hg
Using The Summer To Improve Your Teaching by Bill Page
What I Know I Know by Bill Page
Consistency in Congress: Yet Another Child On-line Protection Law that Can't Possibly Work by Dr. Rob Reilly
Simple Tips to Increase Student Achievement at the High School Level by Geneva Glanzer
Dear Old Golden Rule Days, Chapter 1 - First Test by Janet Farquhar
Classroom Management Tips You Wish You'd Known "Back Then" from the Primary Elementary Chatboard
Teaching for Peace by Jay Davidson
Book Reviews - The "Power" of Two & Brain Based Teaching: Building Excitement for Learning by Susan Gingras Fitzell
Classrooms as Discourse Communities by Daniel Chang
Keeping Records on Students with IEP's from the Special Education Teachers' Chatboard
The Robinson Residence for Retired Teachers In Quebec by Dave Melanson
What To Do With Education Catalogs Instead of Tossing Them from: The Teachers.Net Chatboard
Uncovering the Hidden Web, Part I: Finding What the Search Engines Don't from: ERIC Clearinghouse
July Columns
July Regular Features
July Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:


About Bill Page...

Bill is a teacher who has served as originator, program director, teacher trainer, and demonstration teacher for Project Enable* ...a six year research project of the Central Midwestern Regional Educational Laboratory (CEMREL) funded by the U.S. Office of Education. Bill went on to apply his research principles in an elementary school and trained teachers through summer courses at the University of California.

Bill has taught courses at 86 different universities and has presented Staff Development Programs, seminars and conferences to more than 100,000 teachers, at more than 2000 school districts, throughout the U.S. and Canada.

*Project Enable involved the lowest achievers in 15 junior high schools in suburban St. Louis, Missouri and inner city Nashville, Tennessee. One premise of the research was that "It's not what is wrong with the kids; it's what we are doing to them. "Bill trained 48 teachers as an integral part of his research, changed their relationships their attitudes and their teaching strategies. The students in turn changed their attitudes, their responsibility and their achievement. Their gains in reading and math were remarkable, many gaining three and four grade levels in a matter of months."

For additional information, visit Bill's web site: www.teacherteacher.com.
or e-mail him: billpage@bellsouth.net.



Teacher Feature...

What I Know I Know

I hope that every teacher will take time this summer to reflect on the past year.
Self-reflection is one of the most powerful teaching tools I know. One of the few advantages I have found to getting old is that I have more time to reflect on my experiences in education, and more experiences upon which to reflect.

by Bill Page


Four decades of teaching have convinced me that there are a lot of things I don't know about kids, teaching, learning, school, and education. Using self-reflection, action research, trial and error, desperation, and more feedback than I ever wanted, I discovered some teaching techniques that worked and many that did not. Further, polishing my skills of out-bureaucrating the bureaucrats, covering my posterior, ignoring memos, pleading ignorance, begging forgiveness, being sneaky, and avoiding faculty gossips and snitches, I figured out things I know for sure; things of which I am not certain and a lengthy list of things I definitely do not know or understand. Here is some of what I know I know.

  • I know that teaching is an incredibly complex process involving human beings in complex interaction, and complex intellectual, emotional and attitudinal elements that defy simple definitions and explanations.
  • I know that attempts to reduce "teaching" to skills, methods, and techniques as typically taught in education courses, and advocated in "How-to" books is obviously absurd; and when coupled with the context in which the teaching-learning occurs, it is inconceivable.
  • I know that teachers and students are the heart and soul of the educational process -- they do the work of education. All others are there to support teachers in their work.
  • I know that teachers know their students and their classrooms. They must have the autonomy to make decisions about what goes on in those classrooms, not because they can do it best, but because they are the only ones who can do it at all.
  • I know that kids learn from varied sources, but the learning for which schools are responsible, will occur, or fail to occur in classrooms, and it will happen to each student and involve each teacher in each classroom.
  • I know that more than classes, courses, meetings, seminars and training, teachers need discretionary time. They need time to reflect; time to dialog with colleagues, visit schools, time to observe and work with other teachers.
  • I know that innovation, progress, and change are not programs to be embraced. They are directions which teachers must move decision-by-decision, day-by-day to maintain teaching efficacy.
  • I know that teachers need more time to spend with individual students and their families. They need time for home visits, time to spend in the library, on the Internet, reading books, journals, and more time for individual research, and problem solving.
  • I know that educational change is inevitable; that change is extremely difficult; that change means letting go of the familiar and grabbing something new and untried.
  • I know that change is the only real constant in our lives and that teachers don't resist change. What they resist and resent is "being changed."
  • I know that the moment by moment, minute by minute decisions I make in my classroom make a difference in the learning, the discipline and the climate; and, I know that a lot of those decisions arc to do nothing -- but they count just as much.
  • I know that I have only 24 hours per day. Some hours, (too few) go to my personal needs and endeavors, my family and my private life. The other hours go to my teaching -- to my students. I am obliged to use my professional time efficiently and effectively.
  • I know that teaching, discipline, classroom management, growth, knowledge, and skills are all measured in terms of each student's learning, achievement and success.
  • I know that when my students figure out things on their own; when they use higher level thinking skill; and when they have an opportunity to interact; they learn and they remember.
  • I know that no matter how well subject matter is presented, it cannot have any effect on the kids until they become personally involved in the process and in which they find personal meaning and relevance.
  • I know that each of my students can only begin where s/he is. His or her current attitude, knowledge, misconceptions, interest and skills, are the beginning point of his or her learning, understanding, and of my teaching.
  • I know that teaching techniques, strategies and ideas are available by the thousands. It is by keeping my mind on the outcomes, understandings, objectives and goals that I am able to select or create appropriate teaching procedures and teaching strategies.
  • I know that any school district that doesn't have discretionary cash for teachers to buy the additional materials that they want high up on its budget priorities, doesn't really know classroom teachers' needs and priorities.
  • I know that genuine encouragement; personal discovery, cooperation, interaction, trial and error, self-correction and self-improvement are the most powerful motivators a teacher can use themselves and offer their students.
  • I know that coercion, intimidation, reward and punishment, however subtle, traditional and well-intentioned offer only temporary solutions, and are generally counterproductive to learning, self-actualization and self-discipline.

Most of all, I know that when I devote my professional time, energy, and efforts doing what I know for certain makes a difference; I don't have any time left for doing things that I am not sure of much less for things that I know don't work. My students' lives, my profession, and my life are too important for doing anything other than what I know I know.

A Personal Note: As I reflect on, "How is it that I know the 'truth' while many others wallow in their ignorance?" My only answer is, "Because I know the truth, my truth." I am not willing to relinquish my years of learning just because others do not agree; because others learned something different; or because I am in the minority -- I know I know.

For clarification, questions or comments, contact, billpage@bellsouth.net

Or visit Bill's web site www.teacherteacher.com

 

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