‘I feel like I teach students,’ not just science

Using blended learning, which combines face-to-face teaching with online instruction, a science teacher at Mott Hall V Middle School in New York City says she’s teaching students how to be students, instead of just teaching science. A boy says blended learning requires students to take responsibility.

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  1. I taught classes that met 3 hours, once a week, and will soon start teaching weekly high school classes at a homeschool co-op. I found that I spent some time every semester teaching students ‘how to be students’, since classes where you see the students weekly require independent study. Little things, like ‘review your notes and find your questions while the lecture/class material is still fresh in your mind’, ‘ask questions as soon as you find something that you don’t understand so that you can study it ‘right’ all week’, and ‘review your notes every day or 2 so that it sticks in your memory’, in addition to other study techniques, seemed to be revelations to some of my students.

    Most of them seemed accustomed to seeing each section as a discrete unit that they could cram at the last minute. They were initially surprised, but eventually came to like the fact that if they really learned, they could link things together and it actually got easier.

  2. Deirdre Mundy says:

    The interesting thing is that some kids seem to look for connections naturally, while others need to be prompted and taught to look for connections.

    I’m sure Cal will jump in and tell me it’s an IQ thing, but if it is, it’s more of a 120 v. 140 type thing than an 80 v 120 type thing, at least anecdotally.

    (Also, the ‘make connections’ kids often had lower grades than the ‘discrete unit’ kids when I was teaching. Not extraordinarily lower, but the ‘connections’ kids were often OK with a 96% where the ‘discrete unit’ kids were more of the ‘argue for every last point’ persuasion…

    Which leads me to think it’s actually a personality difference, not an IQ difference…

    • At the college level, a lot of my ‘discrete unit’ folks ended up dropping the class. Teaching at a CC where most students had jobs and perhaps careers, grade grubbing wasn’t too common. Most students were either taking it for knowledge and wanted to learn or needed to check off a prereq for a nursing program. The students who quickly understood (either on their own or with coaching) that the different units fit together to tell a story often seemed so happy with their understanding that they didn’t worry too much about their grades…but most of them did better than they expected due to understanding and remembering the material. That, and my tests were geared such that straight recall questions earned you a C, and maybe a B, but you had to make at least some connections to get an A. I taught the connections, but if you skipped class or just memorized vocabulary then you had to be pretty industrious to get it on your own.