Tuesday, February 7, 2012
I found Annie Palmer's Breaking Educational Barriers Blog very refreshing. She questions the status quo on teaching and is willing to try different ideas. The first post I read on Recognizing Effort Not Just Outcome spoke to me as a student who struggled to get high grades. I would find myself in the C or D range when I had put just as much effort into studying when I got A or B. Palmer suggests that we should reward students at least as much for effort as accomplishment. As an educator, she feels if the student does not understand a subject or assignment and is plainly trying, then the approach was wrong. That is a terrific way of diverting attention from blame (student or teacher) to change. She got a lot of her ideas on this subject from reading books about leadership skills, specifically naming a podcast by famed financial guru Dave Ramsey. She wonders if "celebrating" effort would encourage her third graders to try harder. And what about applying this recognition to administrator-to-teacher and teacher-to-teacher relationships. Encouragement can be a powerful motivator.
I responded that I too was surprised at how much readily available information there is on leadership that can apply to teaching or coaching. Celebrating effort is important. Far too many people, especially highly successful people, never stop to acknowledge an accomplishment nor the effort it took to meet that goal. They just seem to cross it off a bucket list, and move on to the next thing. We should keep that childlike sense of wonder about what we did and how much it took to do it, perhaps most especially when we try our very hardest and fail.
My second comment was on Palmer's post Addressing the Needs of Introverts in Our Classrooms. Reading a book entitled Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe, PhD. set her to thinking of her own educational experiences. She clearly identified herself as an introvert, with the caveat that an introvert is not shy. Collaborative learning was a hurdle for her because she needed time to assess the task and come up with a plan of action. She wonders if educators are leaving some students behind by having too many cooperative activities in the classroom. Another difference between an extrovert and an introvert particularly caught her attention. Extroverts want to know about a variety of topics while introverts like to focus on a few in depth. She hates having to tell an interested student, "I'm sorry; we have to move on."
I commented that I am one of those who is neither a complete extrovert or introvert. I am perfectly happy when someone assertive takes charge, but if no one does, then I will. However, I wonder how many times we fail to teach to the introvert.
Annie Palmer impressed me with her probing questions about the way we teach. I like the way she gave insight to her own experiences both as a teacher and as a student. She seems to understand the philosophy of No Child Left Behind. I will be following her blog.