kitchen table math, the sequel: my thoughts exactly

Friday, July 2, 2010

my thoughts exactly



You Haven't Taught Until They Have Learned: John Wooden's Teaching Principles and Practices
by Swen Nater, Ronald Gallimore, Bill Walton (Foreword), Jim Sinegal (Foreword)

4 comments:

Lisa said...

Mr. Wooden was a class act. Not to mention from my state (though he did go to Purdue.)

John said...

This book is one of many referenced and strongly recommended in Daniel Coyle's book, The Talent Code, which explores the idea that 'talent isn't born, it's grown'. Malcolm Gladwell, Matthew Syed and Geoff Colvin have, along with Coyle, all published popular science books on the same theme and they all draw extensively on the work of K Anders Ericsson et al's The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance.
They all agree on one thing: no-one, whether they be Mozart, Michelangelo, or Michael Jordan, is born a genius. They all needed expert tuition, masses of practice, and someone to light their fire.

Allison said...

--They all agree on one thing: no-one, whether they be Mozart, Michelangelo, or Michael Jordan, is born a genius. They all needed expert tuition, masses of practice, and someone to light their fire.

Why does the 21st century need to tear down geniuses to build itself up?

Is it because these academics think they are geniuses, too, if they just had a bit more time?

How about we admit something else: that there really are born geniuses, and Isaac Newton and W. A. Mozart were them, and there are others, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with the rest of us building up our varied talents through instruction, discipline, and diligence? Obviously Newton and Mozart spent time in their fields. What a non sequitur to the issue of instruction or coaching.

K9Sasha said...

What about the kids who don't want to learn? The ones who would rather waste everyone's time than do any schoolwork? The ones who are willing to hurt themselves as long as they hurt others in the process?

Last year I was a reading teacher at a low income school. I've been at low income schools before, but this school was different. A large percentage of the student body, a good 30% or more, had major behavior issues. I was lucky I was a reading teacher and only dealt with small groups of kids at a time, rather than whole classrooms full of them. As such, I was able to keep control and learning was able to take place, but I honestly don't know how the classroom teachers kept their sanity.

Anyway, I had one boy who could be really, really sweet, or a major pain in the ***. Towards the end of the year I was spending the last 15 minutes of his daily group reading session playing reading games with the kids to keep him engaged so he wouldn't become unmanageable. One day while we were working on the lesson part of our time together, I told the kids that if they read some sentences with no errors they could immediately have game time. The first person I asked to read was this particular boy. He started reading just fine, then looked up at the other kids, smiled, and started making mistakes. I stopped him and told him he'd get another turn. Once all the other students had read error free he got his chance again. Before he read I told him that the other students had earned their game time and he couldn't take it away from them, the only question was whether he'd be joining them. Not surprisingly, this time he read error free.

Before this past year I believed that if the students haven't learned, I haven't taught. Now I'm not so sure. Teaching/learning is a two way street, and both parties have to put in effort.