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parenting skills
high school students
adult children
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Blooming Marvellous - The Relevance Of Blooms Taxonomy In The Digital Classroom
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Blooming Marvellous - The Relevance Of Blooms Taxonomy In the Digital Classroom

Philosophy of Education is wasted on the young.

I remember going straight from University to College to learn how to teach the Science I had learned to High School students. My situation may have been slightly complicated by the fact I was married and my wife was expecting our first son. So perhaps my mind was not entirely on the job.

More than 20 years later, with another 20 years experience in education, I have a renewed appreciation for educational theory. It is hard to be trying to focus on Piaget, Popper and paradigm theory whilst one is trying to dodge errant missiles being fired at your head. In this respect, a beginning teacher is like a beginning parent - mostly clueless about the enormity of the responsibility they have taken on.

However there are two significant differences between teaching and parenting:

  1. In teaching, you get a new group to work with each year, whereas in parenting it's the same ones. This confers both advantages and disadvantages in both directions.
  2. In teaching, your mistakes are less easily forgiven. Your students, generally, don't love you. They don't understand that you have their best interest at heart even when you are carrying on like a prized pork chop. Parents, even when they have been disastrous, often get second chances, especially when their children become parents themselves. Has something to do with empathy I think.

Most children become parents than students become teachers. This explains, partly, the reason why everyone has an opinion on both. Since everyone was a child, obviously they knnow how to parent. Or maybe they know how not to parent. The same applies to teaching.

Experience is a very effective teacher, however much of the job, and occasionally the damage, has been done by the time you acquire the necessary wisdom and experience. I am sure my parenting skills are better now than they were. Of course that doesn't really help my adult children, other than I can empathise with what a clueless fool they had for a Dad when they were growing up.

And not to start a tirade of letters from ex-students, but I have also learned a few things about teaching in the past 20 years as well.

Primarily I have learned that survival is the first priority. 3 part lessons covering all of Bloom's taxonomy with plenty of assessment for learning sprinkled through is a recipe for overload in a developing teacher. They just want to get to the end of the lesson, the end of the day, the end of the week and the end of the term. It is not until you have a few classes, disasters and successes that you can try to understand what teaching is all about.

Courses I took after I had been teaching for 10 years, both isolated PD and further degree programs made a much greater impact on me, becuase I had clearer contextual understandings, more experience and a framework around which I could place the Piagets, Poppers and Kuhns.

This encouraged me to think about Bloom and technology in science education. Bloom remains in Education because his work was so elegant and so relevant. The scale neatly progresses from the simplest level of learning (and teaching) up to the most challenging for teacher and student. The consequence is classroom differentiation strategies are designed to challenge students who can at best comprehend as well as those looking for opportunities to synthesis and create.

Technology is no panacea. However, students are already comfortable using it and if teachers design tasks which are open ended, they can cater to the knowledge gatherers, the comprehenders, the appliers, the analysers, the synthesisers and the evaluators/creators. The simplest Powerpoint presentation can provide students with ample opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of skills they have both of the technology and how to use it, and the content and how to present it.

There have been numerous efforts to 'update' Bloom, to bring him into the current century. However good teachers know good practice doesn't age. Good pedagogy is always good pedagogy. The key is to find the right tools and the right tasks to allow each student to demonstrate what they know and what they can do. Shared practice and resources, passing notes and discussion groups helps reinforce that teachers are on the right track. To borrow again from parenting: It may take a community to raise a child, it take a school community to educate one.


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