My job is to work with teachers and administrators to improve student learning outcomes.
As part of getting my feet wet, my principal suggested I “be” a student for two days: I was to shadow and complete all the work of a 10 grade student on another day.
Wiggins initially posted the piece without revealing the author.
Sometimes it was because the teacher was lecturing; sometimes it was because another student was presenting; sometimes it was because another student was called to the board to solve a difficult equation; and sometimes it was because the period was spent taking a test.
So, I don’t mean to imply critically that only the teachers droned on while students just sat and took notes.
A high school teacher for 14 years, he is now the president of Authentic Education, in Hopewell, New Jersey, which provides professional development and other services to schools aimed at improving student learning.
You can read more about him and his work at the AE site.
If there was a test, I took it (I passed the Spanish one, but I am certain I failed the business one).
My class schedules for the day (Note: we have a block schedule; not all classes meet each day): The schedule that day for the 10 I could not believe how tired I was after the first day.
But still, hand in hand with takeaway #1 is this idea that most of the students’ day was spent passively absorbing information.
It was not just the sitting that was draining but that so much of the day was spent absorbing information but not often grappling with it.
It’s really hard to do, and not something we ask adults to do day in and out.
Think back to a multi-day conference or long PD day you had and remember that feeling by the end of the day – that need to just disconnect, break free, go for a run, chat with a friend, or surf the web and catch up on emails.
Each time I would stop the class and address it so everyone could hear it.