Edu-babble

Posted: January 30, 2014 in Education

joke

*I thought the above caption was funny…it has nothing to do with ‘edu-babble.’*

There are too many buzz words in education. I’ll start there.

One of my most recent pleasures has been sitting down on the weekends with a cup of coffee and reading some blogs about education on my iPad. I am a teacher-geek, well-aware. I like to stay up-to-date with new trends and strategies – though, some blogs and ideas are simply awful. At the end of the day, I’m really only looking to improve as a teacher in any way I can. I like reading about the success stories and even the times where maybe something didn’t quite work out and why. THOSE blogs are more important to me than just another research article written by someone who’s not a teacher. Here’s why:

I have cared deeply for the state of education for a long time, but became engrossed in it while attending teacher’s college. That’s when they really start hitting potential teachers with all of the new buzz words in education or, as we call it, edu-babble. Strategies in education are like the newest trend – what is cool/hip/popular today is highly uncool, unhip, and unpopular tomorrow. Staying ahead of the game is very difficult, as teachers are often pulled in a million different directions (hyperbole). No matter if you are a parent, educator, student, or none of the above, I thought I would list a few of these recent buzz words and provide my five cents worth.

1. Inter-Curricular Education: This is the idea that science, for instance, shouldn’t be treated as a separate subject than, say, geography. In other words, lessons taught in one subject should overlap other subjects to provide interconnectivity. I like the idea, but the follow through can be difficult depending on the courses. Moreover, when two subjects collide wonderfully, it is usually by accident. For example, my colleague’s civics class and my discussion of politicism in Lord of the Flies. 2. Project-Based Learning: This is becoming HUGE in education circles. We are quickly veering away from the days of individual work and are now trying to teach students to work well with others – a very kindergarten-esque concept. The idea is for students to work together to complete a tangible task by taking on a variety of responsibilities. Some subject-areas lend themselves to this concept quite nicely while others, not-so-much. It can be a very successful task if you can get the students to buy into the idea in the first place. 3. 21st-Century Skills: I really just find the term more annoying than anything. This refers to teaching students the “soft skills” – to think, to solve, to make judgments, to communicate, and to collaborate. It’s actually a great idea because I’ve argued in a previous post how incredibly important these skills are…I just don’t like the term. Lame. 4. Flipped Classroom: I tinkered with this idea about 1.5 years ago, which involves creating a series of lessons for students to watch at home and then using class time for course work only. This would be in contrast to using class time for both the learning of material and the demonstrating of material. This goes under the assumption that students want to watch a lecture at home AFTER school hours. Not a chance. My question has always been: What happens to half the students that don’t watch the lecture – what happens the next day in class?

I am all about trying new things and keeping an open mind. At the end of the day, it’s whatever helps to facilitate learning. There are teachers who engage in the act of teaching (where teachers teach and no one learns), and then there are those who teach to achieve learning.

 

 

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