Monday, February 21, 2011

Last week our class had the opportunity to listen to Darren Kuropatwa speak. Darren is a former math teacher and now works for Manitoba Education as an education advisor. Darren spoke to our class about assessment of students. "How do you know if your students know something?" was the question that Darren asked. He made a great point that athletes and musicians have a stage or playing surface to showcase their talents. We know whether they are able to perform in a matter of minutes by watching a student play. But students in math, science, ELA and other subjects don't have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge. This translates into giving our students an opportunity to show their stuff. Demonstrate their knowledge for people outside of the school walls rather than demonstrate their knowledge on a test.

Darren also went on to speak about how students learn best. He stressed the importance of community in the classroom and once you have established this with your class, you can get them to do almost anything. The best way for a student to achieve a true understanding of a topic if for them to teach the topic themselves. This is based on the philosophy of med school which is watch it, learn it, teach it. If students are able to learn about a topic and then they are able to teach it to someone, then they have truly gained an understanding of it.

This point goes along very well with another great point that Darren brought up in his presentation. If the teacher is working harder than the students, than there is a problem in the setup of the class. The teacher needs to work hard and model for the students that it is okay to be wrong about something and try again, but it is the students that need to be doing the majority of the work in the classroom. It is the students that need to be doing the majority of the learning and teaching to fellow classmates.

Overall, another great presentation in this class. Looking forward to the last couple of weeks.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the analogy of students demonstrating their knowledge through publishing their own work for the world to see, much like athletes showcase their talents during a game. Publishing student work establishes a purpose for and increases motivation for learning. It also creates a classroom culture centred on collaboration and creativity, two huge skills that are crucial to have in the workplace. Like Darren, I believe that if students can publish realistic and authentic projects that showcase their knowledge, teachers will not have to worry about working harder than their students. The role of the teacher becomes a coach and facilitator instead of lecturer.