Sunday, November 21, 2010

Education and The Far Side

This week I found a humorous Far Side comic on Google and posted it on Twitter. Today, I was reading a pamphlet by Diane Gossen called 5 Positions of Control and thought of how the comic could be linked to education. Let me explain.

Gossen notes that if we do not work with students so that they are able to fix their own problems, "when they leave school they may not be capable of making decisions when no one is telling them what to do." Indeed, asking them to conform without thinking for themselves will affect the rest of their lives and not in a good way.

Here is the comic. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Inspiring Ideas Videos

I just made a Prezi to keep some of my "Inspiring Ideas" videos in one place. People featured are Daniel Pink, Seth Godin, Sir Ken Robinson and Yong Zhao. No doubt I will be adding to the list. I just wanted to share this list with those that might be interested. I hope you find it useful.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Power of Twitter: My geographic location did not stop me from meeting these Tweeters!

As some of you may know, I live in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. If you do not know where that is, you can get a geographic idea here. As you can see, I am geographically isolated. I live in a fly in community and have lived in Nunavut for the past 12 years. However, despite my isolation, I was able to connect with great educators when I discovered Twitter.

I have used Twitter since the fall of 2008. Actually I joined in the fall of '08 but did not really start tweeting until early in 2009. That is a common experience with Twitter users. People join and then go away for a few months, try it again and then, Bam!, a light goes on in their heads and they "get it." They say,  "Ahh, this is how I can use this."

I had my "get it" moment around February of '09. I discovered that despite the fact that I live in Northern Canada, I could connect with educators all over the world. Indeed, no matter where you live Twitter gives you the opportunity to connect with people that you never would have met otherwise.

Through the power of Twitter I have been able to meet some intelligent, kind, and caring educators. I would like to introduce you to a few people that I met over the past 2 years on Twitter that are definitely worth the follow.

In no particular order:

Tom Whitby: @tomwhitby Tom is an Adjunct Professor of Education at St Joseph’s College in New York. He is also the creator of the Educator's PLN site. Tom's tweets are thought provoking and he taught me that it is not how much you tweet, but the value of your tweet.

Shelly S.Terrell @ShellTerrell Currently, Shelly is teaching English to children, teens, and adult students in Germany and works as an online technology and English instructor. She also writes the  influential blog Teacher Reboot Camp. Shelly's tweets are always informative and she is generous with her response to you even though she has 9,300 followers.  Moreover, she is a very positive person.

 Larry Ferlazzo @Larryferlazzo Larry teaches Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced English Language Learners (as well as native English speakers) at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. Larry is the most prolific tweeter in my PLN. His tweets are loaded with resources. I retweet Larry often and have learned a lot from him.

Joe Bower @joe_bower Joe is a teacher in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada who wishes to challenge 'traditional' schooling while exploring more progressive forms of education. Joe is a "no holds barred" blogger and tweeter. He tells you exactly what and why he thinks the way he does. I share a lot of the same philosophies (homework) as Joe. He also reads and writes about authors such as  Alfie Kohn, Daniel Pink, and Seth Godin.

George Couros @gcouros    George is a K-12 Principal in Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada, who wants to help and inspire others to find their passion. His blog, The Principle of Change, is a favorite of mine because he writes a lot about caring and  helping children in his school. His tweets are always thought provoking. 

Chris Wejr @mrwejr  Chris works as a school principal at Kent Elementary School in Agassiz, B.C., Canada. One of his passions is discussing the future of education. Chris tweets about educational philosophy and shares many resources. He is currently implementing something called FedEx days with three of his teachers. I am fascinated with this idea and look forward to hearing about its success . We share many philosophies on homework and awards ceremonies, amongst other things. 

So, there you have it. Please check out the above educators and don't let your geographic location limit your connections.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Be Good in Class or You're Kicked off the Soccer Team!

 Recently I read about a teacher that is linking class behavior (including bad work ethic) of her soccer players, a school team, with the opportunity to be on the team.  She told other teachers in the school the following, "If your student plays on my team and they are misbehaving in class, I will remove that student from the team."  The players were told, "If I get a  report from your teachers about bad behavior, you will be removed from  the team." In sum, a player's behavior in school is directly linked to his/her right to be on the team.
After reading the article and thinking about this proposition, I submit there are many things wrong with this. Here are a few questions and thoughts:

Soccer is being used as a reward and punishment- if behavior in class is good you are on the team, if it is bad, you are off.  Why the manipulation?  What is going on in class if a student is misbehaving?  Is the student  bored?  Why are students being bribed by soccer to behave? Is the school work not worth doing?  Is this bribery affecting his or her desire to learn?  Alfie Kohn notes, "Both rewards and punishments are ways of manipulating behavior that destroy the potential for real learning."

also think of the coach.  Why is the coach using her soccer team as a way of disciplining students for other teachers? Those teachers should be building better relationships with his/her students, not getting the coach to "discipline" his/her students.  And if the coach has to kick a player off the team, does it not damage the relationship that the coach has with that child?

I believe that sports should be unto itself. The teacher that is having problems with a student in class should work with that student to find the problem, not use something that the student loves to do and take it from them. Indeed, as Alfie Kohn noted, "Punishment by any name, even consequences, ruptures the safe and caring alliance that must be nourished between teacher and student."

Check out what Alfie Kohn has to say about punishment:


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Motivational and Inspirational

I really enjoy watching inspirational and motivational sports videos and commercials.  I have compiled a few of my favorites here in this Prezi. I hope you enjoy!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

That's 5 Minutes for Fun.

A little humor in class can go a long way with students. Sometimes I like to take the last 5 minutes of class and do something unrelated to the day's topic. Why? Just to change it up a little and have a little more fun.

Here are a few funny signs that I downloaded from Google and shared with my class. Sometimes you can have some very funny discussions. These discussions are also good for second language learners.