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Volume 3 Number 4

Harry & Rosemary Wong remind us, "Leaders lead and they lead by caring enough about the success of their teachers that they will roll up their sleeves and model instructional leadership."...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
Visual Impairments by Dave Melanson
Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
Reflecting Upon Read Across America
Earth Day Compilation
The World in Lights
Take a Seat at the Bottom of the Class
Starting Children on Science
Tips for teachers being bullied!
Mr. Choose-A-Chart
Teaching Perseverance Through Adversity-A History Lesson
It's An Early Spring!
Memo to Staff: Our Computer System Crashed-We Have No 'Backups'-You're Not Getting Paid for a Month!
Keep Your Online Community Alive!
Curricular Science the 'Curry' way!
Geography Awareness
Principal of the Year Ray Mellberg
eBook Technology
Respect Means...
Creative Uses for Digital Cameras in the Classroom
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 4)
Young Lawyers Ementoring Magnet Students
The Welcome Mat of a High School On-Line Community
Plato Lives...
The Asphalt Classroom
26 Teaching Tips for the Dog Days
Using Storytelling in the Classroom
Recapturing the Courage to Teach
To Leave No Child Behind
If you say you CAN'T, it means you WON'T
Something Nice a Student Did Yesterday...
When Your Child Comes Home Messy
Praise vs. Encouragement
People Don't Play...
Apple Seeds
Special Days This Month
Poem - Song of a Second April
The Lighter Side of Teaching
  • YENDOR'S Top Ten
  • Culprit Management
  • Schoolies
  • Woodhead
  • Handy Teacher Recipes
    Classroom Crafts
    Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
    "Why Do We Have Night" from the Lesson Bank
    Upcoming Ed Conferences
    Letters to the Editor
    The School Web Page: A Vehicle for Innovation
    Eighth Emerson Prizes Awarded in Boston
    Student Nanoexperiments Will Help Future Astronauts on Mars
    The 11th Annual National Institute for Early Childhood Professional
    International Conference on Computers in Education
    SESSIONS ANNOUNCED: Congress in the Classroom 2002
    Teacher Network United States Mint
    DEADLINE: Civic Education Grants
    Gazette Home Delivery:

    Teacher Feature...

    The Asphalt Classroom

    by Royce Gough

    "A wonderful harmony arises from joining together the seemingly unconnected." - Heraclitus c.500 BC

    I can see it in their eyes. I imagine you can too. You know the look. The one that says, "I'm here for class… my brain is empty… please, fill it quickly so I can get out of here and get on with my life." Perhaps it's the last remnant of the tabula rasa philosophy (John Locke's 'blank slate'). Perhaps it's just years of miseducation, or maybe, just maybe, in our academic world, we don't really have time for students to learn.

    Over the past decade the attention of many in academia has been turned to the cyber-world as a new educational venue. With the advent of the Internet, there are currently an estimated 505 million people online, which is expected to top 700 million by 2003 (Global Reach, 2002). Millions of people are online seeking information, reading, interacting, learning. This unprecedented access to information has created an interesting opportunity for educators.

    The question shouldn't be, "Why aren't these people learning in 'real' f2f classrooms?" The question should be, "How can I get my classroom, my subject matter, to where these people are 'really' learning?"

    Picture this: a classroom that is always open, everywhere, and everyone is already there. In this classroom everyone has an opportunity to talk, everyone has a chance to be listened to. No questions go unheard if they are asked---and there's plenty of time to ask. There is an equal opportunity for everyone. It's an "inclusive learning community" in every sense of the term… a community that doesn't necessarily need a "Teacher" present in order to function properly.

    Equality in the classroom, however, is a threat to current educational practices. Where does this leave the Teacher (with a big 'T')? What happens to the academic profession when Teachers are no longer there to impart knowledge? How does the Teacher then define their role if the aren't "teaching?" What if the "Teacher" is no longer necessary?

    The truth of the matter is that the teacher (little "t") will always be necessary. The difference is that we have become so focused on the teaching practices of the "Teacher" that we have somehow overlooked the primary function of the "teacher." That is, the role of the teacher should be to encourage learning.

    The purposeful changing of the "T" to "t" signifies a change in the role of the teacher, from "master" of the subject matter, to co-learner. This idea has been presented by Palloff & Pratt in their text, Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace, and also by Parker Palmer in his latest work, The Courage to Teach. Palmer writes, "This is a classroom in which teacher and student alike are focused on a great thing, a classroom in which the best features of teacher-and student-centered education are merged and transcended by putting not teacher, not student, but subject at the center of our attention." (Palmer, 1998) In short, we have come to know learning as an active process, one that increases in strength with individual practice and personal interaction with the subject. These are things that the online community does best.

    Consider this picture: It's late, class just got out, and a group of students head en masse to the parking lot. You happen to be part of this group when someone asks about something that was mentioned in class. What follows is a lengthy discussion about personal opinion, the reading, and the lecture. Some of the group dissipates after a while, and some new members join…and eventually, you leave having learned something. Perhaps more---much more---than you learned an hour or so before.

    Have you been there? I have. If it weren't for the parking lot, I'm not sure I would have successfully made it through many of my educational experiences. I wish my classroom could be more like that asphalt lot.

    The truth is, it can be.


    Global Reach: Global Internet Statistics (1996-2002). Retrieved February 10, 2002 from:

    Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (1999). Building learning communities in cyberspace:
    Effective strategies for the online classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Palmer, P. (1998). The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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