New trends and methods for teaching seem to surface every few years. How do you find the right method for teaching your students?
It seems every few years, educators are urged to adopt the latest and greatest teaching method, writes high-school English teacher Nicholas Provenzano. In this blog post, he writes that while teachers should be open to better methods of instruction, he cautions them against succumbing to pressure to disregard other approaches. Instead, he writes about the advice a veteran teacher once gave him: “Teach to the students in your class and you will always be right.”
A wise veteran teacher told me something my first year of teaching that I will never forget, “Every few years, someone is going to tell you how you teach is wrong. Approach X is the best way to teach. A few years later, someone else will tell you how awful that approach is. It’s all BS. Teach to the students in your class and you will always be right.”
I wasn’t sure what he was talking about at first, but then I saw it happen. Every few years, there is a big push on how to teach students in new and exciting ways. People come out very strongly for these new approaches and how they can change the world of education as we know it. I’m not against change or looking at new approaches. I’ve moved from a traditional lecture-based class to a project-based learning class and have loved the switch. My issue is the view that some take that all other approaches are detrimental to students.
I give homework in my classes. I’m a high-school English teacher and give my students reading assignments and they sometimes need to work on essays at home. To some, this makes me an awful teacher because I am stealing free time away from students. I do not give multiple choice exams in my classroom. Some would say I’m not preparing them for the high stakes world of testing that is a reality. I do not record my lectures in advance and place them online for students to watch at home. Some teachers would suggest I’m not getting the most out of my time in the classroom with my students. There are many different approaches to reaching the varied students in our classrooms. Why does one have to be right and the others all labeled as wrong?
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