"We have study hall at the beginning of our meetings." says Jeff Bezos. Staff meetings at Amazon begin with 30 minutes of silent reading. Powerpoint is easy for presenter, hard for audience "The tr…
People tend to agree that Power Point can be a mind numbing format for presentations, though I do find that it is a great way to help students impose a little structure on their class lecture and discussion notes. What is particularly great about this article about meeting protocol over at Amazon is that Power Point is not supposed to be replaced by a better lecture, but by a better piece of writing.
Students seem so unaccustomed to reading except when they are in search of specific answers that I love the idea of kicking off a class meeting with a silent reading “do now,” where kids are not given a specific direction, but are meant to form their own critical responses. While I would love to do this with specific literary passages, maybe to catch up students who are behind in reading homework, I also am interested the idea of presenting the lesson itself as a well fleshed out essay. There is something counterintuitive about presenting a lesson as an idea fully formed, but then again, it might allow students to start at a deeper point of discussion. It does seem too rare that I have an opportunity to model the craft of writing for students and let them see me exposing my own work to debate and criticism.
Two signboards for schools painted by Hans Holbein the Younger: A School Teacher Explaining the Meaning of a Letter to Illiterate Workers (above) Principles of a Schoolmaster, teaching scene for children (below).
Stanley Kubrick’s annotated copy of Stephen King’s The Shining.
Now that the new NYS Regents exam will require students to read an average of 6,200 words (up from about 2,000) over the course of a three hour test, I’ll be emphasizing active annotation more than ever before.
Not GEDs. Diplomas.
Feigler has a magnificent vision of radically more diverse groups of adults contributing to the school day: artists, creatives, professionals. In the meantime, she’s got the discipline to start by solving a critical, well-defined problem: Getting a reliable sub that can help, not hurt. (If you’re curious, substitute teaching happens to be a $4B problem in the US.)
Henry of Germany delivers a lecture to university students in 14th-century Bologna.
This image appeared last week in the other Atlantic article about lectures. It might be obvious from the title “Lectures Haven’t Worked Since 1350 — and They Still Don’t Work Today,” that the interviewee’s opinion is a bit extreme to mesh with mine. That us why my absolute favorite part of the article is the wonderful commentator who writes a play-by-play of the illustration, illuminating the fact that actually most of the audience is listening: attentively:
It’s odd from a illustration that you can tell if someone is droning on. Many of the students appear to be paying rapt attention to the lecturer or to the written material in front of them. Several sport large greying beards, suggesting they may not be traditional students. Some might be women. There seem to be 3 pairs where one is giving the other the eye, while the other is paying attention to the lecturer. There is only one pair with both turned to face each other, possibly in conversation.
Only one person might appear to the casual observer to be asleep. They are in the second last row, closest to us, with their hand to up to their forehead, covering their face, leaning out towards us, clearly beyond the end of the bench they are on! You can see the end of the top of the bench (sharp point) visible slightly above and behind their head. Much of the body, especially the elbow and head, is clearly beyond the end of the bench since it is in front of the edge of the bench blocking our view of it.It is the position of a distraught individual leaning away in shame having realized they have completely misunderstood an illustration!
… technology has led us to use written language more like speech—that is, in a real-time, back-and-forth between two or more people. “[P]eople are communicating like they are talking, but encoding that talk in writing,” Clay Shirky recently told Slate. This might help explain the rise of the line break: It allows people to more accurately emulate in writing the rhythm of speech. It has also confronted people with the problem of tone in writing, and they’re trying to solve it with the familiar punctuation marks that the line break largely displaced.
Awesome article that deals (in part) with versification of emails!*
*the exclamation point here shows sincerity.
Don’t Give Up on the Lecture
The term “lecture” is entirely out of fashion, as is the unqualified word “lesson.” On recent planning templates released by New York’s Department of Education, only the term “mini-lesson” is used. The term gets its diminutive status because of the fact that only 10 to 15 minutes on the hour are allotted for teacher-disseminated information, while the rest of the class period is focused on student-centered practice in groups or project based learning.
Read more. [Image: Shaylor/Flickr]
Here is my new article for The Atlantic’s Education Channel. The idea for this began with a blog post I wanted to write in response to a recent Edsurge article about a group of high school students in Palo Alto, CA who design and host their own TED -talk style lectures.
Author Christina Quattrochi, surprised that students would voluntarily listen to a lecture, writes “In a world where sage-on-the-stage-like education is increasingly considered passe, a group of Silicon Valley high school students are working hard to preserve it. Are they simply craving a good lecture or did they miss the memo on education reform?” The question she poses here is a jarring reminder that dialogues in education are growing more and more inflexible in the belief that all students reject information that is given to them and value only that which they seek themselves. I would argue that there is immense value in lecture, and unnecessary harm in insisting that a teacher who lectures must “drone on” and dismissing the pedagogical form with dumb terms like “sage on the stage.”
Curated by Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, JAY Z’s Life+Times is a digital experience covering art, sports, music, fashion and culture.
And which of these Jay-Z endorsed tracks is written by a former freshman of mine?
The track whose title is on the 9th grade curriculum, of course.
Follow the link and listen to “Romeo + Juliet” tons and tons of times!
Meet the “Lexile,” the absurd reading metric for the Common Core.
Nice article (with a nod to William Empson!) on one of my least favorite things about the Common Core curriculum. I’d like to add that under the CCSS none of the named texts, as they are works of fiction, would be considered “content-rich.”