The Importance of Student Thinking

In an NPR interview with Philip Sadler of Harvard:

“Students are not empty vessels,” he says. “Students are full of all kinds of knowledge, and they have explanations for everything.” From birth, human beings are working hard to figure out the world around us … cognitive science tells us that if you don’t understand the flaws in students’ reasoning, you’re not going to be able to dislodge their misconceptions and replace them with the correct concepts …

Teachers who find their kids’ ideas fascinating are just better teachers than teachers who find the subject matter fascinating.”

Read the interview here.

 

Thank You Seymour Papert

childrensmachineWhen I was a fledgling doctoral student, my mentor Ralph Ginsberg introduced me to the work of Seymour Papert. Reading The Children’s Machine profoundly changed my thinking about teaching and learning … his books continue to influence all of my work — whether I’m teaching children or adults, whether my focus is on teaching specific content, or coaching, or supporting groups to strategize. Constructionism always informs my purpose.

As I prepared my dissertation proposal defense years ago, I struggled with my literature review. My committee chair suggested I get in touch with Papert, since I relied so heavily on his work. I felt as though I was reaching out to an ancient greek philosopher and couldn’t believe he’d have time for a lowly Penn student. But Seymour replied quickly to my email, patiently answered my questions, and shared several articles (some of them unpublished) to assist me. He didn’t just accommodate my requests — he also encouraged me to push my thinking and consider aspects of instructional design that I hadn’t previously considered. As impressed as I am with his theories and passion about education, I will never forget that he took the time to support me (a complete stranger) in learning.

The world lost a great mind and a superb teacher yesterday. Let’s continue his work.

Our Own Personal Paris

We spent yesterday afternoon with Antoinette of Paris Personalized. If you find yourself fortunate enough to visit the city of light, make sure you take one of her tours. They range from food-based, to historical, to musical … Antoinette is a great story-teller and will introduce you to places in Paris that you never would have known about.

Antoinette and Cory sitting in the beautiful garden of the Expiatory Chapel. Never heard of it? That's why you need Antoinette!

Antoinette and Cory sitting in the beautiful garden of the Expiatory Chapel. Never heard of it? That’s why you need Antoinette!

FIT Teaching … the book!

FITT_Cover(Warning: shameless self-promotion ahead )

Very excited that the book I’ve co-authored with Doug Fisher (@DFISHERSDSU) and Nancy Frey (@NancyFrey) is available here!

FIT Teaching is a field-tested and experience-honed process that captures the essentials of the best educational environments and empowers teachers to adapt the most effective planning, instructional, and assessment practices to their particular context. We highlight teachers as leaders who work collaboratively to support their students.

Google victims

6th grader in a social studies class learning about Ancient China, on completing his 24/7 report on the Tang Dynasty (students present on a topic for 24 seconds, then summarize with a 7 word sentence, based on the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony):  They developed a great orange breakfast drink.

tang

Teacher’s response: Have a seat, we need to talk about how to use Google.

How do we support students to think when they’re searching on the Internet?