Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Text Support?

If you say it fast--it sounds more ambiguous.

I observed a teacher today doing a lesson on volume.  I was in there to see him in action using his Smartboard, as a "field trip" for the teachers I was doing some instructional coaching with.

During the lesson, in which students were expected to measure several different objects and use the formula for volume to do their calculations, this teacher did something I thought was awesome.

He held up the textbook.  Then he said, (and I paraphrase here) "Anybody recognize this? It's our textbook--I know you haven't seen it before but here it is."  The textbook was one of the objects students could choose to measure.

I talk to teachers A LOT about standards based content and skills.  Often, that is confused with the RESOURCES that one might use to TEACH the content skills.  This comes up in curriculum mapping all the time--teachers are comfortable with a particular resource, and have a hard time separating the "HOW" from the "WHAT."  A resource is a part of curriculum practice, but it is NOT the cornerstone of curriculum design.

Traditionally, the book is the only resource a teacher considers in order to teach the content and skills necessary to master what is outlined in the standards.

This teacher today gave a very concrete example to the teachers I took to his classroom AND to his students, that the LEARNING is not resource dependent.  In fact, the textbook was almost a joke rather than a real consideration for learning support in this classroom.  (Although this particular text DOES have some good points--it's just that this particular teacher had the skill to make better points that transcended the text.)

I think this is significant.  I wondered to myself what would happen if we cleared the school of books.  (We don't have to "Bradbury" them a la Fahrenheit 451, just move them...) What would THAT class look like?  If it was the teacher I observed today, the class wouldn't look any different. 

I think I'm going to start using that as my new catch-phrase and say things like, "What if you 'Bradburyed' the situation?" or "You know, we could 'Bradbury' this whole scenario and start fresh from the ground up."

Just thinking out loud today...oh, and thanks Mr. Scully...

No comments:

Post a Comment