Education Corner 26

30 OCT 2016

Last EC we explained more about the Case Study approach to learning and mentioned that this approach is often for critical thinking development. Last K-Press the beginning teacher Navarro Navarro asked his students to take a simple pledge on his first day. I _________ promise to be the best student I can be and I promise to help Mr. Navarro Navarro become the best teacher he can be. For our critical thinking ideas we said that Navarro admitted to the 5th graders that it was his first day ever as a teacher and he admitted it to them. He does not pretend to be a trained teacher. So now we can ask the EC Readers to think about the first two (2) Case Study Discussion Questions
1. Do you think it was a good idea for Navarro to admit to his students that he really was not trained as a teacher and that he was a real beginner? Why or why not?
2. Do you think that good students can help make good teachers? Why or why not?
EC Readers-What do you think? You might guess it is the critical thinking that is forced with the -Why or why not? Whether we think Yes or No we must give some reasons. Training to give reasons for Yes or No answers is critical thinking training. Think about true/false questions that follow with-Explain your answer. This is the same type of question. These types of questions are not meant to prove right or wrong but sometimes when questions are discussed people may switch their answers or change their minds. Also in the Case Study we had the following

That first day Navarro found all of the fifth grade textbooks piled in his room and a nice copy of all of the books on the big desk which he assumed would be his—the Teacher’s Desk. He was happy to find that there was a Teacher’s Edition for English and grammar. Navarro had been a straight A student in high-school English and his college years in the States had sharpened his skills at reading, writing, listening to and speaking English. To be honest, Navarro was far better in English than in his own vernacular language. As a young boy he could count in more than ten (10) different ways and even understood “high words” used by chiefs. Now, English was almost his first language and he was actually happy that at Mt. St. Mary’s the teachers must teach in English. In fact, on the wall of his classroom he saw a sign that read “English Must Be Spoken At All Times While On This Campus—And This Means At Recess Too.” He noticed in small print that someone had added—in the bathroom too. Yes, he was grateful for that and confident in his own skills, but could he teach it? Somehow, he realized that teaching English was different. Certainly, being good at something did not mean one could teach it ... Navarro though of his brother who was well known as an expert carver. No matter how hard he had tried to teach Navarro a little of that skill, Navarro could not carve the likeness of a shark. And further Navarro considered himself lucky to have ten fingers on his hands when he finished attempting to carve. TO BE CONTINUED-
3. Do you agree that just because a person knows something well it should be easy to teach it? Why or why not? Think of and share some examples.
On this one Navarro is leaning toward a No and he has two (2) examples. He could not learn from the expert shark carver and while he is very good in English he worries about teaching it. However there are likely EC Readers that have reasons why they lean more toward a Yes. What do you think?
But his mind now came back to the English. He glanced at the Table of Contents and saw the terms subject and predicate. He remembered those words but when he saw gerunds and participles he became worried. These had something to do with -ing words but beyond that his memory failed him. Navarro wondered if gerunds and participles were part of diagramming. He hoped not. But seeing the Teacher’s Edition he breathed easier. There seemed to be lots of help and suggestions in the margins of the large book. These were printed in red so he imagined that red did not always have to be a negative. He had thought that red was always for marking the incorrect problems and how he had come to buy both a black and red pen. This is why he carefully used his red pen when he made his remarks about the bad teachers—especially Miss Maupin. In this wonderful find were exercises and tests for students, and even little sections marked Teaching Suggestions. And there were answer keys. “Maybe the English will not be as hard as I feared,” Navarro hoped. It was no wonder his own teachers did not have to work out all the answers for themselves— they had these Teacher’s Editions. “Maybe that is why teachers always seemed so smart,” he thought as he looked over the rest of the neat piles.
For the rest of the subjects there were only students’ editions left for him but this did not worry the young man. He was good at math, in fact very good. So he was sure he could do all of the problems correctly himself and therefore he would not need answer keys. He saw four or five chapters on fractions and while they were easy for him to do, he could not recall how he learned fractions. Perhaps remembering how he had learned something would be worthwhile for him. If he could remember how he had learned something then maybe he would teach it the way he had learned it. Yes, the more he thought about that idea the better it sounded. He saw the fifth grade science was all about plants and animals. And since he had taken both biology and zoology in college, he was sure he could handle the science. And lately Navarro had been reading a great deal about environmental problems in newspapers and magazines. He would make a point to pass along to his students these problems that humans were causing on the Earth. He was sure the 5th grade was not too early to start on teaching good stewardship of the planet, which is also called “sustainability”. To Be Continued (with discussion questions)

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