Teaching explicitly

When Jenny D. teaches would-be teachers, she tries to make her teaching decisions explicit and clear. Showmanship doesn’t necessarily lead to learning, she writes.

Here she gives examples of clarity in teaching prospective teachers about Brown vs. Board of Education.

“In order to prepare for this, I thought about the timeline myself. I checked my notes from the lecture, and reviewed the reading. Then I made a lesson plan that walks through the timeline, but pauses at some places to expand some ideas. I am intending to write a few things on the board.

“It’s tough because although I have laid all this out, including the questions I will ask to forward our learning, I have to think on my feet as you answer in order to keep the lesson moving. I need to the notes to keep me directed, even if I have veer into another topic because of a question. This is difficult, and fun, but it could easily turn into just me entertaining you and not pushing you to probe, think, absorb and question ideas.”

She wants teachers to see the “invisible parts of teaching,” so they’ll know it’s a learnable skill not a natural talent.

Here she teaches a junior at a selective university how to write a short “reflection” on what she’s read. Good advice, too.

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