This week’s challenge to reflect on “Learning Illustrated” compelled me to search back over my lecture notes and readings from the past four weeks. Although we are barely into this two year program we have already covered an immense amount of pedagogical theory, teaching techniques and how to incorporate teaching methods of the past, present and future. I decided to illustrate this with key concepts. Pulling from each week the lessons and curriculum those core ideas that compel a teacher to teach with passion.
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I also wanted to reflect on a teacher that I had in the 3rd grade. Her name was Mrs. Wiley and to this day I remember her class. Not because she was the easiest, hardest, nicest, meanest, greatest or worst teacher. I remember Mrs. Wiley because she was the most creative. In Mrs. Wiley’s class we learned math, reading, writing just like everyone else in the 3rd grade but in our class we learned it in a way that compelled an 8 year old. You see, at 8 years old I still liked to sing and dance and play and that is exactly what we did in her class. We performed plays, did art, had story time and sang songs all the while learning what we needed to creatively. Two songs in particular still to this day are stuck in my head, 3 times table and 4 times table. We would sing these songs walking from activity to activity, from the playground to our classroom even when it was time to get settled. It became over time a memory that I would never forget. I have even taught these to my own children and often hear them singing them while doing their math homework. I thought about Mrs. Wiley’s creative classroom as I read Quintilion this week and was struck by this observation,
“For as a rule the result of the dry textbooks on the art of rhetoric is that by straining after excessive subtlety they impair and cripple all nobler elements of style, exhaust the lifeblood of the imagination and leave but the bare bones, which, while it is rights and necessary that they should exist and be bound each to each by their respective ligaments, require a covering of flesh as well.”
So yes, teaching the standards is important but compelling your student with curriculum through activities they enjoy and that they are interested in is a gift, thank you Mrs.Wiley for this gift.