Switching Gears: pre-Lectures at home, homework at schoolOctober 9, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Posted in uncategorized | 2 Comments
(authored by Russina Eltoum)
When thinking about reading in the content area the only question that worries most of the teachers is how to get enough time to cover the materials that at least prepare the kids for the test, and at the same time to incorporate teaching how to read.
Curriculum standards and high stakes testing have focused our attention on the following matter: more kids need more proficiency in more subjects, and reading plays a part in every one. With several years of test scores to reflect on, it has become clear that what kids don’t get about a particular subject often has to do with what they can’t read about it.
I think the next ten years are going to see a radical shift in the ways we teach and learn. I read an interesting post last week, What’s the Value Added? In this post, I have watched a video and read about how some teachers record mini lectures in videos and send their students home to watch them in their I phones to get the basic idea or concepts, and when they come to school they practice certain skills in class. I think this is a good example to The Next- Gen Teachers and their smart use of technology
This video made me think about the nature of homework today; it is so clear that what we call homework is actually addition schoolwork, and if it’s just schoolwork done at home, then what makes it more valuable than schoolwork done at school? The issue is more complex than that pat answer and deals with what I perceive to be a common failing even of effective educators.
So what can we do to make the homework really a fruitful practice that can enhance our students’ understanding of what they have been studying? What could the teachers do to make the time they spend in class with the students more valuable and productive?
I really believe that homework should be used to reinforce content that students have already worked with, or to introduce them to new concepts they are about to work with. and I also believe that one of the possible solutions to the common teachers’ complaint about not having enough time could be shifting the activities between the classroom and home; I mean that instead of assigning more problems for the kids to practice at home, we can send them home with some reading materials, or links to certain websites with, of course, some reading activities to do like think along, think markers, or any pre, during, or post reading activities. And then when students come to class, a discussion about what they have read and how it is connected to the concepts which they have been studying in the class would be essential. Students could also practice some problems and new skills that related to the topic in class with the teacher ‘s and peers’ help, which would be more fruitful than doing that alone at home because when students collaborate, they learn a lot from each other. Students benefit for these kinds of interaction. And the teacher is also there to provide needed assistance.
I believe this practice will deepen students understanding to content and at as the same time it will help them to be better readers, it will also help students recognizing that learning time happens both in school/class, and out of school/class. This way students will actually make some of the earlier steps of the learning process at home — making work done at home even more critical for classroom success than it has been.
There’s no question this idea is disruptive to current ways of school – that’s actually the point. The point of this entry is to think about how we do it now. I’m not suggesting that the individual teacher in a larger system could easily implement it, but I’m asking people to imagine what is possible… and what would be best for kids. The only way we’re going to ever change the status quo is to imagine better ways to do it. Don’t you think so?