The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

By Chance or By Change: Allowing the "Why?"



“You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay? Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” – Jim Rohn

Last week I read “Why?” Can Make Change Possible by Shawn Blankenship. Even though his words were from an administrator’s point of view, I started to think about how I manage my own “Why?” students in the classroom. Do I treat them as a nuisance instead of an opportunity to learn? Do I take offense and consider the question an insult? More importantly, do I encourage my students to offer an opinion and voice in how they receive their own education?

In a test driven educational system, there are high stakes and little time to hold Q & A. The focus on test scores have put a value on our teaching abilities and the effectiveness of our administration. Because of the jobs and reputations in jeopardy by the mood our students bring to school on testing day, studies of best practices and highlights of what successful schools do differently are flooding educational literature and media. Many administrators push anything and everything on teachers to raise test scores and appear successful. Teachers feel like they are puppets in a classroom that is no longer theirs. Little by little the potential to become master’s of their profession is restricted. Like Shawn said, if administrators do not listen to their staff and answer their concerns, it could limit any real change. Even more detrimental to the absence of change is eliminating what can come from change, success.

With that in mind, the pressure put on administrators and teachers is having a negative affect on students. Teachers have objectives to cover and state tests to prepare for. There is little time to answer students’ questions of “Why?” unless the answer to the “Why?” is on the state test. Students are eliminated from the educational process that begins and ends with them. They have little to no voice on the material they are told to learn and the way they are forced to learn it.

It is crazy to think we can decide how EVERY student should learn. We may make modifications or spend extra time re-teaching material for some, but our methods of instruction are usually the same. We often create projects and lessons we think are great, but blow up in our face. We get upset and blame our students for the failed lesson that didn’t engage them. But how much of our instruction is student initiated and directed? How confident are we that our methods are effective for today’s learner? If given the chance, do we change course because a student asked “Why?” and offered a better alternative?

Our students are experts on how they learn best. Unfortunately, they are a resource that is too often left unused. We pull from our PLN, Twitter, Edcamps and other means of Professional Development to help us become better in our profession. How often do we use our students for professional growth?

I began with a quote by motivational speaker and best-selling author, the late Jim Rohn. I wish Rohn’s words were plastered on our walls and written in our handbooks. I want my students to evaluate the job I do as a teacher. If I’m not passing Rohn’s test, I need to change what I am doing. But most importantly, they need to be included in the discussion. Their future is too important to leave it to chance and the decisions of an educational system many believe is failing them. The questions our students ask us to answer could be a start to the change we want to see in our classrooms.

Views: 80

Comment

You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN

Comment by dillonka on April 3, 2012 at 6:48pm

If we don't teach students to ask "why," we teach them nothing. If you tell a kid to stop questioning, you tell him his voice does not matter. You tell him his curiosity is unwanted. You tell him that answers are not valid if they are not written in the answer key.

If testing truly interrupts this vital element of teaching--and I think it does--we need to ask ourselves WHY we are doing it and if it's worth it.

About

Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

Greg Quinlivan updated their profile
8 hours ago
jorna sorkar posted an event

Best triple monitor stand at kuwait

January 20, 2017 from 6pm to 7pm
In any case, as an ever increasing number of individuals understand that a vertical screen is unrivaled for their regular errands, most producers are including turns that let you pivot freely. ASUS alone makes almost two dozen distinctive showcases with inherent turns, and keeping in mind that I haven't by and by tried each and every one of them, the brand's sparkling notoriety represents itself with no issue. There are likewise extraordinary rotate amicable choices from AOC and Dell.See More
yesterday
Mark William posted a blog post

How Can Distance Learning Be A Fundamental Factor For Your Career Development?

Distance learning, in general, is beneficial and efficient, but an online business learners conceivably expand a contemporary or prospective career with a solid perception of its overall performance. This is a perception you might be able to obtain at a traditional university, but it’s apparent the online business student will learn it better.Image Courtesy: bit.ly/2j2VNNWIn fact, the US Department…See More
Thursday
Leona Hinton commented on Brenda Savoie's blog post 16 Teaching Apps Which Can Help Students Improve Their Writing
"Good job, Brenda, your collection of teaching resources and tools is brilliant! I'd be glad to complete it with my favorite free online plagiarism checker, your students' writing skills would increase dramatically with this smart…"
Wednesday
Mitch Weisburgh posted an event

Make Your School Something Special: Tech enhanced approaches to School Improvement at http://www.edchatinteractive.org/upcoming-seminars/make-your-school-something-special

January 18, 2017 from 8pm to 9pm
How do you help your school improve for everyone? Teachers can act to improve the personal and professional experiences of themselves and their colleagues, as well as make the learning experiences of their students more effective and more engaging. This includes a number of simple activities one can use in the classroom right away. Join in for an interactive exploration of technology-enhanced approaches to making your school something special. Registere at …See More
Tuesday
Jennifer Broflowski posted a blog post

How to Recognize the "Fluff" and Tips to Avoid It

An attractive piece of writing speaks for itself. It is clear, competent and disseminates only the necessary information. But is this always the case with all writers? The answer is apparent. A good number of writers are victims of writing content full of fluff. Fluff boarders on words that are meaningless to content being written. When fluff is evident in writing, it becomes difficult to understand the message, read…See More
Tuesday
Leona Hinton commented on Eileen Lennon's blog post How do you stay motivated?
"I prefer not to talk about my plans, I only do that if I need somebody's advice to help me to kick-start. "
Monday
Profile IconVijender Singh, Melissa May, Malia Zurcher and 12 more joined The Educator's PLN
Monday

Awards And Nominations

© 2017   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service