Imagine (2:32 E.R.T.)

As a history teacher I liked to think of myself as a standup historian, ala Mel Brooks standup philosopher from a History of the World.  Well this is really more of a, isn’t that interesting, but a math professor mime.  And before we just shrug it off as funny or quaint, I think that it can offer us a way to think about how could we convey our teachings to people who may not learn like we do.  It’s something I try to think about when thinking about ADA/UDL issues, how can you help a faculty member teach astronomy to someone who is 100% visually impaired?  And its in those moments we think about what the essence of our subject is, and are pushed to help others learn it, in whatever way they can learn.

The next article is from the Chronicle and offers quick little “tricks” for helping students learn.  Some of these are simple turns of phrases, a bonus for seat time rather than a penalty for absences.  I also like the idea of having a test for 100 points with 14 ten point questions.  Perhaps there is a nugget here for others to help them think  about changing something up or reaching that one student.

I love this article.  For my dissertation I used a wiki to have students co-write a textbook, I later had students make edits to a wiki-textbook on wikipedia  The original rationale was to have students write for an open audience, so they would be more careful, write clearer, and be responsive to their posts being edited, or edited out.  In this article, several faculty have had students write for Buzzfeed with the goal of going viral, which takes a certain set of knowledge and skills.  But in doing so I’m sure the professor, the class, and especially each student has begun to have a growing sense of knowledge and skill in their field, and as a digital citizen.  It could be a great assignment.

The final article looks at how civil unrest could adversely effect student achievement.  Really?  Hmm?  Imagine.  It focuses on a study done on schools in Ferguson, MO versus greater St. Louis, and apparently after the shooting of Michael Brown students in Ferguson didn’t do as well in school.   I wonder if students in Flint are having any problems, or Minneapolis, or Dallas, or Tulsa….?  I’m sure it has been very tough for these students, and other students who experience this unrest.  And students who experience discrimination based on their race, religion, sexuality, class…..Our mission at Parkland is to engage the community in learning.  This is the job of teachers, and to keep this in mind, that many of our students have things which can hinder their success.  We need to acknowledge this, and work with them to help them succeed.  And if we do it right, there will be less unrest and less discrimination.


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