Sunday, November 3, 2013

C4T #3

Encouraging Courage
The first blog post that I read was Encouraging Courage written by Alfie Kohn and posted on Joe Bower's Blog for the love of learning. In this post, Kohn challenges teachers to challenge traditional policies and accepted assumptions. Teachers need to question if this is really in the best interest of the students or not. Just because a policy works and classrooms are quiet and orderly are they really helping students to become deep and passionate thinkers? It's often hard to find the courage to stand up and challenge other administrators for fear of being labeled a troublemaker and being black listed. It takes courage to stand up to absurdity but remember, your students are watching you and you are their role model.
In my comments to Mr. Bower, I let him know that this post was one of the most eye-opening posts that I have read so far in this course. I felt the last paragraph to be the most profound when I was reminded that kids are watching me. We are their examples and should represent the best that their future selves can be.

head shot of blogger Joe Bowers
The second blog post that I read was What do kids really learn from failure? written by Alfie Kohn and posted on Joe Bower's blog. This post was about how beneficial is failure for kids. Kohn made a lot of great points throughout the entire blog about failure in kids and how children perceive the failure. There are arguments that failure is unavoidable and that children should be able to deal with it and that children today are too coddled and have an easier life. Failure is unavoidable and how we teach our kids to handle that is what is really important. Every generation talks about how much easier kids have it today and of course in some aspects they do. With all the inventions and technology of the world today, a lot of things are easier not only on kids but adults too. Kohn challenged us to see life through a kid's eyes and how much failure they really incur everyday. They often come up short and don't get what they want and then face critical judgements from adults. Kohn discussed that studies show when kids fail, they make up an image of themselves as incompetent and helpless. This type of image leads to more failure. Students then want easier tasks and lose interest in what they are doing. The blog mentions that people are more likely to persevere when asked to make decisions about things that affect them rather than be told what to do. Two last things that Kohn said are eye opening and deserve serious thought. "Maybe the problem is that the educational environment emphasizes how well students are doing rather than what they're doing" and "It's the student's perception, not the teacher's intention, that determines the result."
In my comments to Mr. Bower, I let him know how much I appreciated how often he updates his blog and the fact that he puts such thought provoking material on his blog. I let him know that I had to read the article twice, once as a teacher and second as a parent.

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