Sunday, July 14, 2013
Teachers In Action
Tonight I witnessed an amazing demonstration of teaching professionalism in action.
Presented with the challenge of developing a lesson plan for a field trip to a fossil site in the Panama Canal for a group of Spanish-speaking children they have never met, the seven teachers quickly determined what their educational objectives were and how they would achieve them.
Within minutes they had come up with a host of engaging activities to help the students understand geologic time, learn how scientists collect and share data, identify different species and compare them to living organisms.
Then they were on the floor, performing a test run of the lesson, each of them assuming the role of a typical student, anticipating the opportunities and challenges that the lesson would present and adapting it accordingly. They recognized when the students’ interest might lag, and built in new activities and games to keep their attention. They also determined the supplies they needed – string, plastic bags, pencils, a meter ruler – and sent a contingent out to get them, on a Sunday night, in an unfamiliar city, in an unfamiliar language.
In addition, they made sure to include the Panamanian teachers in the process. “If they work through this lesson with us, it will be theirs,” said one of them. “We will be giving them the gift of a lesson.”
This is what teachers do. They see an opportunity to educate and they run with it. Every American who has ever been asked to vote on a school bond referendum should have the opportunity to see this process in action.
To read a perspective on how the lesson went, go here