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If I was a student of mine, I would drive me crazy.
I took a PD class last week and I was the one being taught something on the computer. I tried to stay on task, but I sometimes got distracted, or bored and went off to look at something else, and I got lost. I needed to ask for help from the person sitting next to me, I even needed help from one of the facilitators of the program at one point. I was a nightmare.
It made me think long and hard about my own classroom. While I can't prevent students from getting distracted or lost, how can I help them get back on track and stay there? To be fair, the workshop was moving pretty quick because they assumed that teachers who are proficient on computers didn't need a lot of help. The problem is the lesson could have been differentiated. All the teachers had different levels of expertise, which made for some problems with the speed of the class. They assumed we could follow along easily, which wasn't always the case. When they had to stop and help too many people, the ones who were ready got bored and wondered off (me.)
It's an inherent problem with computer class; some lessons need specific directions to acquire the skill being taught. Everyone needs to follow step by step, but they might not go at the same speed, so it can be frustrating. I need to better address this problem in my classroom.
I think I will start developing more visual clues for students to help them with the steps they should follow. I will check for understanding even more, if that's possible, and I will move slower, much slower. I will repeat directions five more times than I do right now.
Some kids don't have problems in my class, so I think things are fine. I need to think about the struggling kid, the kid who counts on the person sitting next to them to know what to do.
I learned a lot from the PD class, only half of which was what they were trying to teach me. The rest was what I needed to learn about myself as a teacher.

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Comment by Michel Boustani on March 12, 2015 at 4:23pm

I always saw my teaching journey as an adventure with students, regardless of their age. Of course adapting my behaviour to their level of understanding. I have to admit the ones who taught me a lot where the preschoolers and drop-out students who benefited form a "back to school" program.

I would be eternally grateful to them!

Comment by Eileen Lennon on March 12, 2015 at 8:07am

That's a great story Michel, thanks for sharing it. You turned lemons into lemonade, which shows your expertise as a teacher. If we aren't failing every once in a while, it means we're not trying to get better. A good lesson for us all.

Comment by Michel Boustani on March 11, 2015 at 3:29pm

If I may share my limited contribution in this field (Computer class),

reading your paper reminded me when I had to "show" preschoolers how a storyboard could be created and what it took to engage into storytelling creation.

I know the task seems crazy, yet I felt as you said:: if I were a student of mine I'd gone crazy.

I realized how ambitious my plan was, not about the activity the kids were really excited, but with my approach, it was very new for me to teach such topic, but for the kids it was cool...

During the explanations the cool effect was fading as my "I know all" grew bigger... at the second yawn I knew I was loosing them totally!

So I had the "crazy idea" (As often I do have) to ask the most bored kid to come in front and teach us how she would do that ! Smiles, big round eyes, young people not believing what the teacher was talking about, so I moved and sat at a desk and let the young girl give the lesson...

we ended into the most live class I ever enjoyed, kids did not want to leave class...

My learning of the day? Such things we learn them with our students, rarely during our studies and training!


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