I read the article by Thomas Friedman, "How to Get a Job at Google". This article seems to represent the new way of hiring companies are doing. So many students have a college degree, yet they cannot find a job. Why is that? This article is arguing that college degrees do not mean that the person is best suited for the job. It seems that Google actually cares about who they hire as a person. Regardless of if that person has a degree or not, Google will give every potential hire the same opportunities for success. They care more about the persons collaboration, leadership, innovation, and humility. They want people who can step up when needed with great ideas, yet be able to admit when they are on the wrong path and recover. For teaching, this means that I need to be teaching these valuable skills to the students. I need to make a conscious effort to move away from the traditional grading system, and really get to know the students' work ethics and innovative thinking. The students need to know that even if college is not the right path for them, their skills learned in high school can still greatly increase their success rates after high school. Many students are disheartened when they don't get the grades to go to college and think that their lives are over. But maybe more companies like Google are looking for a different crowd of people who are not just book smart.
After reading Grant Wiggins' "A Veteran Teacher Turned Coach", I had a huge eye opener. I always try to create lessons that get the students moving and collaborating. I also always try to include some sort of a discussion or questioning period, encouraging the students to participate. However, many days are spent just sitting and doing individual work. I like the ideas that the author suggested for creating a more engaging atmosphere. For example, setting a timer for her lectures helps to keep her on task and not get carried away. Also, allowing the students to walk in a write their questions on the board to start the class off is amazing!!! I think I want to steal this idea. The students can really benefit if they ask the questions and lead the discussion right away. That way, time is not wasted on ideas they already know, and time can be well spent discussing confusion or ideas. Sometimes as a teacher we forget how hard it is to be a teenage student. How boring it is to sit all day, and not have the desire to do any work. Also, many times these kids are in classes they do not like. At least in college we can pick what classes we want,when we want to take them and with who. High schoolers do not get that choice, and a majority of the time they are in a class they hate. I want to try to engage the students so that they all walk away feeling like my class was important.
This is an amazing thing to think about for teaching. Sometimes as teachers, we become so involved in what we need to teach the students and what worksheets/lessons we want them to do. Maybe, if we allow the students to be the teachers, or allow them to choose the assignments they work on, they will have more passion for it. The teacher needs to be a facilitator, and an observer, but maybe the students will do better if they are working on something they want to and are self motivating. This is an interesting concept that I will try to work in to my curriculum for self motivation and autonomy of the students.
There are so many amazing things I got out of this video. I had never thought of the education system as a factory line. Now that I have, I see how inappropriate the way we teach our students today is. We should reform the schooling. More and more kids are being medicated for ADHD. This video explained that this could be because we live in such a stimulating, exciting world. There is so much technology and exciting ideas floating around, then the students are penalized for being interested in the world. Learning needs to be as engaging as the world to interest and engage the students. The schools need to have the students work together as well. Collaboration is a huge part of the real world, and students need to share ideas and thoughts throughout their learning to really get excited about it. In my classroom, I need to allow the students to be engaged with exciting information given to them in a variety of different ways.
This is an amazing project! It really makes the students feel important and valued. So many teachers do not care about their students, and don't understand what they actually do after school and are interested in. Maybe this is a way that teachers can become connected to the students. This video is also awesome to have the students use technology in a fun and meaningful way. They show us the technology they are using in every day life, and they use cameras and YouTube as well to report their videos. This could be used to allow the student's voice to be heard. They can share their thoughts, ideas, and their lives with everyone. What stresses the students, what makes them happy, how much time they spend on school...all of these could be used through this project to help teachers to engage their students better.
I love the ideas of project based learning! Tinkering school sounds amazing. Teaching the students the world through experiencing it is a beautiful way to look at teaching. Kids do struggle with time. I know my students always stress that they do not have time in their lives. No time for sports, no time for homework, no time for fun, no time for projects...Here, they are able to spend as much time as they want to tinker. This helps to reset their minds from what do I need to do, to what do I want to do. Students find success in the doing, and learn from their failures. This is something that is missing from traditional schools. The students are pushed to finish , and are graded harshly on their final products. Students need to be focused on skill building, and how they could revise their final products to be even better. The fun in learning needs to be in "learning", not in the grades received.
I really like how he compares the technology education with natives/immigrants. I do think that it is very similar. Many older generations feel that technology is bad and is ruining the new generation. However, they could just be afraid because they do not understand it.
I think that I am a resident of the internet. I have blogs and social medias that allow me to be social. visible, and communal on the web. I definitely see the web as a social space. My mother is a visitor of the web. She hates the social networking, and putting your face to your name. She is worried about identity theft and people abusing her name on the web. I do try to be as private as possible on the web though, understanding that there is a need for privacy and safety online, so I would place myself closer to the resident side, but not all the way there. I do see the internet as tools that you can use it for, but I am not completely emerged in the web.
I agree with Wagner's Seven Skills for Success.
1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Students need to be able to look at a problem objectively. They need to ask deep questions about the topic, exploring all avenues. Finally, students need to be able to problem solve. They need to look at a question or an issue and be able to solve it themselves through various means.
2. Collaboration: Today's society deals a lot with collaboration. Students need to be able to work with others, sharing ideas between each other to help each other succeed. Students need to be able to work with various types of people and learn from one another to push themselves towards success.
3. Adaptability: Students need to be able to adapt to change. They need to be able to walk in to a problem or an issue that they have not ever dealt with, and use their previously learned skills to figure out a solution. Real life is full of unexpected issues, and students need to be able to work their way through these.
4. Initiative and Entrepreneurship: Students need to be able to see a problem and act on it with out being told. Employers are looking for students that take initiative, and are looking to push themselves to the next level. They do not want students that will do what they are told, they want innovators that can bring their company to the next level.
5. Effective Oral and Written Communication: As an English teacher, this is one of my favorites. Speaking and writing help to build the skills that students need to critically think about an issue, research it, and put together intelligent thoughts to persuade their peers.
6. Accessing and Analyzing Information: Students are surrounded by the internet every day. However, they may not know what research and sites are actually credible. Students need to learn how to identify credible sources and how to use their research to best support their claims.
7. Curiosity and Imagination: Finally, students need to be interested in what they are learning. America has one of the highest levels of innovators because imagination and curiosity are pushed by teachers. Students need to be excited about learning and want to learn more.
One thing that I feel that Wagner is missing is respect. The students need to learn to have respect for themselves, and others. They need to respect their teachers and their peers. One thing that helps the students to succeed in life is the confidence in themselves and treatment of others. If the students are not respecting their teachers, then how will they respect their employers? How can students work with one another if they do not respect one another?
In my classroom, this will look like project based learning in groups. Students will collaborate to research a topic using credible sources. Each student will work in a group to help instill respect and collaboration techniques that they will use for life. They will then create a poster, using their imaginations. This project would be presented to the class to help aid the students' oral communication skills.
I will commit to creating a collaborative presentation in my classroom this year. I will measure success by the quality of the end product and the collaboration I see the students using throughout the project.
I found chapter 5 and 6 of Wagner's text to be the most interesting and the most informative of all the chapters. Chapter 5 discusses the issues with motivation of the students. He discusses that students have low motivation, low engagement, high multitasking, high dependence on internet/social media, and low work ethics. Discussing with teachers, Wagner hears that the students do not do the homework, and are disengaged in class, offering a difficult teaching situation. Job markets complain that the students are not prepared for the real world and have low work ethic and skills crucial to a good working environment. The teachers were mentioned as being the ones to blame. I have a problem with this argument. Yes I have seen how many teachers give students low assignments and reward students with good grades, even if the work is mediocre. However, I think that the teachers are stuck in a conundrum. Districts put a lot of pressure on teachers to have high performing students, with high grades. They emphasize high test results, which forces teachers to teach the test. The districts also push the teachers to teach only certain curriculum, hurting the teachers freedom for creativity and engagement opportunities. Teachers may be pushing students through with grades they don't deserve, however, they have reason to. They could potentially lose their jobs!
For chapter 6, I would love to work at High Tech High. This is actually a school that i have learned about previously, and have been interested in for a while. I did observations at the high school for the math and humanities classes for my Edu 350 class. I loved the atmosphere, and how the students were engaged through project based learning. Reading about the philosophies and the students reactions solidified my feelings for this school. the students are pushed to their potentials and are truly engaged in learning. This is how it should be.
Something that I am having a hard time with this author is that, while his ideas make sense and should be brought to attention, much of his ideas seem very opinionated. For example, Wagner states, "Once again, I suspect that you may not be eligible for a high school diploma" (Wagner 89). This seems very opinionated to me. Where are his studies that show that adults out of high school do not possess the skills to pass the High school exit exams? Also, is it fair to assess adults who are not in a math class or haven't done math in 10 years, and compare it to high school students who have been in math classes for 10 years currently? Another opinionated statement I noticed was, "teaching to the test is not necessarily bad--if the test is a good test!" (Wagner 90). I love how Wagner is bringing light to the situation of achievement gap between rich and poor students. He is also challenging the conventions of teaching that we see as the norm. Does teaching math and science for 4 years create college ready and citizenship ready people? According to Wagner it doesn't. He argues that we need to reform education to teach students what employers are looking for and not students that can answer multiple choice tests. This I agree with, I just wish that Wagner wrote a little less opinionated and more factual.
This relates to my testing experience as a student pretty heavily. I remember being in high school and spending about a week doing the STAR./SAT testing. These were tests that did not affect our grades, but were important for the school to gauge its students and gain funding for various reasons. As a student, I did not really understand the importance of these tests for the school, and I think the same is true for students today. I remember having bubble races, where everyone would just go through the Scantrons and bubble in the answers as fast as they can to win. This is not too far off from where the students are now. They do not understand why the tests are important and why they should even try on them. I agree with Wagner that the tests may not be very important, or even relevant to the students' lives, which creates a discrepancy between what the students do and what we want them to do. If I could develop a school system, I honestly do not know what I would do. I think I would do something very similar to European countries. These countries push their students harder in class, and do not seem to baby them as much as American schools do. They also offer a shorter/easier school track for students who are not going in to college, and a harder/longer school track for college students. While this seems harsh, it actually gives a lot of freedom students. They are able to go to classes that they feel are actually relevant to their lives and careers. They can go to a two year trade school, a four year college, or just finish high school. This allows the students to actually do what they want to, and not be forced to go to classes that are not relevant to their lives.