Wagner’S Global Achievement Gap, Chapter 2

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Wagner’S Global Achievement Gap, Chapter 2

  1. 1. Wagner’s Global Achievement Gap, Chapter 2 St. Gregory Faculty Responses to Questions October, 2009
  2. 2. Wagner’s “Learning Walks” – are they appropriate to provide valuable insight into what’s going in classrooms?   <ul><li>A 10 minute snapshot of a class in session does not provide a fair and complete picture of what happens in a class. </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple visits need to be made to have a very good idea of what really happens in a classroom.  Short visits do not give a complete picture.  Also, visitors change the tone and energy in a classroom, adding to the environment in the best of cases.  Yes, what is considered “poor practice” can be spotted in these types of visits, but “poor” is certainly a subjective term.  </li></ul><ul><li>  Frequent visits, short or long, are better because students become comfortable with people coming in and out and behave more naturally.  </li></ul><ul><li>These short visits are valuable to an extent, providing some insight, but they do not present a complete picture.  </li></ul><ul><li>The evaluators only get a small sampling of time and may assume that what you are doing on any day is what you always do.   It was felt that as teachers vary their style and types of interactions with the students was a good thing but would not be perceived on a learning walk.  </li></ul>
  3. 3. What does he like to see in classrooms?  <ul><li>The Seven Survival Skills, hypothesizing, reasoning, analyzing, challenging students to think in class every day.  </li></ul><ul><li>Wagner likes peer lead activities. </li></ul><ul><li>He likes active engagement of the students. </li></ul><ul><li>Open ended projects and problem solving. </li></ul><ul><li>Wagner likes thought-provocation, collaborative work, and process learning. </li></ul>
  4. 4. What kinds of things does Wagner not like in classroom?   <ul><li>Worksheets, students working individually, map-coloring, recipe-type chem labs which students do not understand, watching videos without pre- or post-discussion, too much factual recall.  </li></ul><ul><li>He would not be fond of straight dictation of content. </li></ul><ul><li>He would not like test driven classes.  </li></ul><ul><li>Wagner does not like busy work. </li></ul><ul><li>Wagner does not like stand and deliver teaching. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Agreements with Wagner <ul><li>Classes should be dynamic. </li></ul><ul><li>Classes should emphasize skills beyond test taking and memorization. </li></ul><ul><li>Students should be seizing the moment and actively presenting in the classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>Stagnation among teachers hinders progress.  </li></ul>
  6. 6. Disagreements with Wagner <ul><li>  There must be a balance between teaching/content delivery and thought-provoking activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Some of what he considers poor practice can actually be helpful; students who are visual learners, for instance, sometimes learn geography because of the time spent coloring maps.  It’s not appropriate to throw out all or even most teaching methods, but we need variety and balance within classrooms and within disciplines.  </li></ul><ul><li>  He disparages the teaching of core content and skills, but even project-based courses require that some core knowledge be acquired somehow or another.  It was pointed out that at High Tech High, for instance, mathematics was project-based....but students were required to go online in order to cover some content and pass tests on basic skills so that they could do the projects. </li></ul><ul><li>That students should be doing some memorization, yet he seems not to be fond of classes aimed at this. </li></ul><ul><li>Wagner puts little merit in transfer of knowledge by lecturing whereas some students find this valuable. </li></ul><ul><li>Giving students open-ended projects is great when it works, but what if they don’t figure out what you want them to figure out.  Is it always worth the time?  </li></ul>
  7. 7. What would we hope Wagner would see at St. Gregory?  What would he appreciate?   <ul><li>More and more, students are beginning to analyze their own learning strategies, finding out what works for them, sharing that with peers and with teachers.  </li></ul><ul><li>The increased engagement of the students. </li></ul><ul><li>Less babysitting takes place than in classrooms. </li></ul><ul><li>Student central learning takes place often. </li></ul><ul><li>More interactions among students. </li></ul><ul><li>The sense of community.   </li></ul><ul><li>Cheryl’s Of Mice and Men project, Eli’s adopt a nation project, the photography class trip to Tucson museum of Art . </li></ul>
  8. 8. What would Wagner dislike at St. Gregory? <ul><li>AP curriculum courses and the demand on content and testing </li></ul><ul><li>Coverage of lots of material and hurrying that takes place to cover so  much. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on grades and assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t get to spend time doing those activities in which people truly learn because we are to worried about getting kids into college. </li></ul>

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