Teaching for Tomorrow ~ Tedd McCain

Six Ways to Teach for Independent Higher Learning

#1 We must resist the temptation to "tell." Telling takes the excitement of discovery out of learning.

Discovery is important because it generates interest in learning and interest is critical to learning. (Wurman, 2001) Most children are naturally interested in animals.

#2 We must stop teaching decontextualized content. If meaning is absent from the presentation of new material, students don't store it for very long.

"Why do we have to learn about animals and their habitats?" Response ~ Learning about animals teaches us how to help and preserve our animal friends. Learning what animals need to survive will help us take better care of our environment. Learning about animals will help us appreciate their uniqueness and importance on Earth."

#3 We must stop giving students the final product of our thinking. That means we must resist the temptation to do all the preliminary work for our students!

#4 We must make a fundamental shift - problems first, teaching second.

#5 We must progressively withdraw from helping students

Fostering independence in our students builds confidence. As teachers we must learn to "let go" and stop doing things for our students. McCain's quote about learning the value of acting ignorant holds true.

#6 We must reevaluate evaluation ~ Our method of evaluation should give us a picture of a student's ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information to determine its validity and significance.

How will I formatively assess my students' learning?
  • Observation
  • Writing samples
  • Engagement in using technology and Web. 2.0 tools