Monday, March 28, 2016

Teaching Tip #133

Teacherscribes Teaching Tip #133

Another great podcast I came across was from Dale Partridge.  Again, he is from the world of business, but his ideas on quality apply just as well to teaching.

One of my favorite things that Partridge focuses on is quality.

And we all want quality - whether its in our products (think Craftsman tools, Tiffany jewelry, or apple computers) or customer service (think Menards, Chick Fil A, Carmax, or Hardware Hank).

Partridge looks at the four aspects of quality -

4.  Personal

This transcends the quality of experience.  Partridge talks about customer service under this aspect of quality.  How do companies or businesses craft their products and services to make their customer feel like this is designed just for us.
Customers love this quality.  Imagine walking into a store and hearing the clerk say, I was waiting for you to come in.  We just got this in.  I know youre going to love it.  The Buckle used to treat me this way when Id come in and the workers would recognize me and take me to see the newest shipments of Lucky jeans or Dr. Martens or Marc Blanc watches.

So how does this apply to teachers?

How can we personally connect with our students not just to build culture but also to deliver content?  For me, this is where social media plays a great role.

Through their writing, I get to learn so much about the lives of my students.  So when I learn that their favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption and if Im reading papers on a Saturday and see that TNT is showing The Shawshank Redemption, Ill text or Tweet or Instagram the student to let them know.  Theyre most likely not going to drop everything and watch.  The important thing is that they know I read their work about what was important to them and that I was thinking about them. 

Or if Im watching TV or surfing the net and see a story about some teenager or college student who has invented a new way to clean up the oceans or get her product into Macys, Ill Tweet it out as an example of a Linchpin, which we read in College Comp 2.

Another way is when I sit down to plan lessons, I dont have learning targets in mind, necessarily, but I have the kids in my classes.  As I work toward the learning target, Ill make connections to my students and find examples that I hope will resonate with them individually.  For example, when I was devising a lesson on the film review we write in College Comp, I created a Storify with examples of all different kinds of film techniques, which was the learning target for that day.  I knew several of my students were diehard Pixar fans, so I had to find the scene in UP where Ellie and Carl meet and grow old together.  Then I thought of a few other students who loved horror films, so I found some key scenes from The Silence of the Lambs and Halloween to use too.

I can do this in a number of other ways too.  I recall early on in my teaching when I had students keep a journal.  I had one student who couldnt afford a table.  I told her Id get her one.  In the meantime I had students creating collages from old magazines I pilfered from the library.  As this student was paging through one, she stated how much she hated those little advertising inserts that are all over the place.  Then she began tearing them out.

So when I finally got her the tablet, for some reason, I remembered how much she hated those inserts.  So I hated a dozen or so inside the tablet.

Her eyes lit up when I gave her the tablet, but she really lit up when she saw that I taped all those inserts in there.  Maybe Im wrong, but I think the look in in her eyes said, You remembered.  That was a connection Ill never forget.

How do you strive to personalize instruction to make students feel like the lesson was designed with just them in mind?

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