Do You Model What You Teach?

I’m not going to try and keep up with the Emerson quotes and reflections, but this question from another teacher blog I read caught my eye:

Do your students know how you, the teacher, write? Can they catch you somewhere in the middle of your own learning process, doubting, wondering, as a vulnerable human far from the know-all/authority in the subject ideal?

While I don’t write for my students (they’re second graders), I’ve known one or two to venture on here, and I do share with them the process of being vulnerable, taking risks, and every once in a while failing or succeeding. It was great to share with them the process of submitting an article, having it rejected, reworking it, and submitting it again somewhere else. I share with them the idea that anything you write for the public is out there for ever. Even if you delete a post, it’s probably cached and anyone can access it. I try to ‘think out-loud’ when I’m teaching, ask my students how I can improve, and am much more reflective than I was when I first started teaching.

They know when I’m trying something completely new, outside our curriculum, just to experiment. We did it this year with Kahn Academy and we discussed the pros and cons. The flipped classroom is still too new to me, and I had some failings in setting it up. I really like the concept, but second grade is a little young to really get the benefits from Kahn Academy. Many wanted to race ahead and I would disagree with Kahn Academy’s ‘proficient’ label for those who can do ten questions correctly in a row. Furthermore, the videos (at least for a 7 or 8 year-old) lacked engagement. Most did not view the videos, but still wanted to move forward. Because we were the class experimenting, some of the children had older siblings use their own accounts to get on which prevented me from using the data to help the child. Those who enjoyed it, were those already working above grade level in math, and they moved even further ahead. Parental involvement varied from none to very and that wasn’t the point. I’m still glad I tried it. I’ll have to put my mind around it more before I use it again with next year’s students. Finally, I’m still glad Sal Kahn is going to be the keynote speaker at the PNAIS fall conference as I think pushing educators to think differently is not an easy thing and Mr. Kahn’s talk will do just that.

As I prepare for my first ISTE (International Society fo Technology in Education) conference which begins next weekend, I hope to learn more about tech in the classroom (what actually benefits kids’ learning vs. things that are just bells and whistles). Hopefully, it will give me something to write about as I recharge my batteries ahead of time.



2 thoughts on “Do You Model What You Teach?

  1. Hi Anthony. Thanks for following @fundforteachers — led me to your blog, which I’ll now follow. I particularly liked this entry as I scanned your posts. Our teachers/Fellows really strive to model lifelong learning for their students and use our grants to do so. Wish we could offer some in Seattle, but we go where the funding is available and alas, we’re not in Seattle yet. Hope you enjoyed ISTE (several FFT Fellows were there with you). Keep on modeling vulnerability and risk-taking for students. I look forward to watching your success via the blog!

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