Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Key to Great Teaching is Finding the Genius in Every Child

After 50 years of teaching , my greatest accomplishment has been persuading my students that their voice matters, giving them the opportunity to have their voice heard, and helping them sharpen their means of expression, be it in written or spoken form, so that voice reaches people more effectively. None of those objectives can be achieved throughstandardized testing. Starting with my first courses for high school students in the Columbia Upward Bound Program in 1968, I have sought to inspire and empower students through a pedagogy that involves reading and research, lots of writing, discussions and debates, and opportunities to express ideas through poetry, music, theater, film or other forms of artistic expression.

These methods work. My students, many of whom came from families of modest means, have become teachers, social workers, attorneys, architects and planners, musicians, film makers, police officers, leaders of businesses and founders of non profits, even mayors of small cities. Over a hundred have become professors, and more than 50 have written books.

But virtually ever lesson I have learned in lifetime of teaching and coaching has been discarded by current policy makers. Rather than finding the spark in every student, and organizing skill development around that quest, we are trying to force students to adapt to abstract standards far from their experience, drilling them till they reach it, and intimidating and humiliating them if they don't, can't or won't.

The genius in every child should be the basis of our pedagogy. It is there, waiting to be discovered, Its forms my vary. It may come in writing, in speech or song, in mechanics and invention, in things that can be built or repaired with ones hands, in athletic talent, in compassion and empathy.

You can smother that genius through drilling and testing, You certainly cannot find it, nurture it, or help it find its most appropriate means of expression.


Aaron Barlow said...

When we were looking for a name for our store/cafe in Brooklyn more than 20 years ago, we decided to call it "Shakespeare's Sister" after a Virginia Woolf piece showing what can happen when creativity is ignored or denied. There is creativity--and genius--in everyone.

Now that I'm a teacher, I find that the real joy in my professional activities comes when my students do things because they have become interested. My job is simply to help them open themselves up to the interest that lies within each of them. That's REAL value added, not this nonsense from "measurables."

Kuldeep said...

RRB Allahabad
Tamil nadu HSC Date Sheet
UP Board 12th Date Sheet
Date Sheet
Raj University Result

Vishal Saini said...

RRB Chandigarh admit card
RRB Bangalore admit card
RRB Bilaspur admit card
RRB Gorakhpur admit card
RRB Ranchi admit card
RRB Bhopal admit card

Divya Saini said...

RRB Chandigarh Call Letter
RRB Bilaspur Call Letter
RRB Gorakhpur Call Letter
RRB Siliguri Call Letter

Hardik Tanwar said...

RRB Chandigarh Call Letter
RRB Bilaspur Call Letter
RRB Gorakhpur Call Letter
RRB Siliguri Call Letter

Hardik Tanwar said...

TBSE Madhyamik Result
NIOS 10th Result
MP High School Result
WB Madhyamik Result
UP High School Result
TN SSLC Result
PSEB 10th Result
MAH SSC Result
Odisha SSC Result
CGBSE 10th Result

Nikita Sharma said...

Gujarat Board SSC REsult Name Wise
GSEB SSC REsult School Wise
GSEB 10th Toppers List
Gujarat Board REsult
GSEB SSC Result Date
Manipur Board HSLC Toppers List
Manipur Board HSLC Result Name Wise
Manipur HSLC REsult
BSEM 10th Result