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Embed code for: Reflection - Michele Wetuski
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Reflection: John Hattie’s videos
It was interesting to note that many of the things I thought were “difference-makers” in pedagogy today were on his list of not-so-great-things to do in a classroom. Things like smaller class sizes, individualized instruction, etc. were not on the top of his list. He did provoke me to consider my own teaching, though.
He spoke about teachers not being well-versed in the content knowledge in their own subjects. I agree with this. I think as teachers we tend to stop our own learning to focus on that of our students, to the detriment of own minds. We become so involved in the daily routines of teaching that we forget to learn ourselves. I spend time daily reading about advances in music, technology, language acquisition, and other things I’m interested in; and I think it makes me a better teacher. However, it requires some sacrifice on my part since there are only so many hours in the day. All of us have families, hobbies, friendships, and so on that we need to maintain balance in our lives. I think this cannot be discounted! A teacher that is driven can only maintain that drive for so long without needing to be refreshed.
I saw a reference in Hattie’s lecture about Keller’s PSI (Personalized System of Instruction) and I looked it up and read about it. Here is the link to the file in ERIC:
From what I read, this is very similar to what I’m doing in my class now to compact my music theory curriculum. The idea is to allow students to learn a small lesson, test over it when they feel ready, and if they don’t demonstrate mastery; study again and test again without penalty. I’ve done this with the more tedious part of music teaching (TEKS 6B, 6C and 6D); which deals with vocabulary and basic knowledge. My students spend about ten minutes each class period logging into my lessons, watching a 3-minute video, and taking the test. They take it until they score 100% - whether that takes three tries or thirty. No penalty. Since it is a series of lessons, students can pick a lesson to start on and try it. If they find it too difficult, they can back up and review; or skip ahead if it is too easy. Students who are advanced can go as fast as they want, and students who need more time can redo a lesson for three weeks until they make 100% and only I can see how each student is doing! I think it works well, and polls of student opinions agree.
I did take issue with his statements about Multiple Intelligences being nonsense and how the responsibility for learning falls solely on the teacher. I think students must be willing to learn – no matter what a teacher says, does, or anything else -it won’t make a difference until the student wants to learn. I think if we absolve the student of any responsibility, we’ve defeated the purpose.
He also made a comparison between teaching and rappelling that I don’t think works. What would happen if a person got to the top and refused to go any further? Is the rappelling instructor to blame? What if the instructor’s job depended on how many people actually went off the side of the cliff? What then?
In an Outward Bound scenario, the participants are in a real-life survival state. This absolutely encourages the willingness to learn! If you know that your rope is holding you up off the bottom of a canyon floor, you most certainly will learn how to tie that knot!
This is NOT true of math, language arts, etc. You are not risking life and limb if you can’t solve a math problem; and it may or may not have any relevance to what you will be doing later that afternoon. If your next meal depended on the correct answer to a math problem, you would do whatever it took to solve it.
Just my opinions