Monday, March 7, 2016

Transparency with Students

As I've mentioned before in my blog, this is the first year that I am trying a Problem-Based approach in my Geometry Honors course. There have been things that I love, and things that I need and desperately want to change should I get the opportunity to teach this course again next year.

This seems like it's how it SHOULD be in education. Even though I'm not teaching my Pre-Calculus course in this style, I still make mistakes and realize there are better ways to explain/introduce/teach concepts all the time. I think of this as part of being a good teacher. In fact, I need to start to worry when I stop reflecting like this.

I said all that because I'm wondering how best to speak to students about this. Generally, I'm open about the fact that there are changes I will make for next year. When we do a lab in Geogebra, I get feedback on it so that I may make it better for next year. One of my students took what I said and told her parents that they are the "Guinea Pigs" and meant it in a derogatory way. This was brought to the attention of someone else at my school, and felt like it was being used to explain the problems with the way I was teaching.

How do I get my students/families/colleagues/etc/etc/etc to see that it isn't a bad thing? Of course I'm experimenting with my students! If I never try a lesson plan that I think will be awesome, how will I know if it works? Should I be even more transparent with students when I say these things? Should I NOT say these things?

I don't expect all students and families to love what I'm doing in Geometry. It's hard. It pushes the kids beyond memorizing and makes them become problem solvers. And that is really hard for students. (And hard for some families to watch their student struggle!) I'm hopeful that they will come out of the other end of this and see the good in it. I hope that they see that it made THEM be the ones that chose the proper tool to use (I often talk about how in traditional texts, often the whole chapter is about one thing, i.e. triangle congruency. It's akin to putting a screwdriver in their hand, and the student automatically knows there's a screw to tighten. In my classroom, they open their toolbox and decide which tool to pick up, sometimes they choose a screwdriver when what they really needed was a wrench, and hopefully they figure that out before they get too far).

Anyway....I think this is nothing but rambling....and maybe that's all I needed it to be. Thoughts? Suggestions? Anything?

1 comment:

  1. You are spot on...stay strong and know that helping students (and families) takes time, effort, energy, and determination. We all come from a place of insecurity and learning is hard work. :)