Monday, May 02, 2016

Teaching Tip #158

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #158
One of my favorite people in education policy is Alfie Kohn.  In his great article, It’s Not What We Teach: It’s What They Learn, he applies the old philosophical chestnut of “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?” to education: If you teach a lesson and the students don’t learn anything, well, did you actually teach?
What do you think?
I’ve definitely been on the opposite side of that question.  In fact, all of 2004 and ’05 felt that way to me.
But I’ve come around to answer , no you haven’t actually been teaching anything to that question.
This is why I think it’s vital to give a lot of thought to our learning targets and evidence of learning.  Since we’ve been doing our lessons that way, I can go into each and ever lesson with a clear picture of the target and with the evidence my students will produce that shows me exactly what they have learned.  Or better yet for Alfie, they will show me how well I’ve actually taught them.

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