Deconstructing the K-12 Teacher

The article, “The Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher” posted in The Atlantic, on 25 March 2015 shares Michael Godsey’s predictions of what a classroom will look like in 5-10 years.  There will be a giant computer screen at the front of the class, one “super teacher” being streamed to teach the lesson, students interacting globally with other students, and the teacher is now a classroom monitor or tech.  In the changing world, if you want to become a teacher, be a”super teacher”, the person that is teaching on educational videos, producing the educational videos, creating the lesson plans on webpages, or facilitating in the room.  No longer are teachers  required to have the same personal skills that were required ten years ago.

Godsey doesn’t like just saying, “that the role of the teacher is shifting.” He ed 554 teachingwants to provide more vision, details.  Teachers are not obligated to be context experts but room facilitators.  So will the same characteristics of a teacher be needed?  Gary Borich, in his textbook Effective Teaching Methods claims that the current
five key behaviors for effective teaching are: 1. lesson clarity, 2. instructional variety, 3. teacher task orientation, 4. engagement in the learning process, and 5. student success rate.   But by going to a global classroom, and multiple persons being involved in teaching, individual strengths can be enhance; the video presenter ensures lesson clarity where as the room facilitator motives students to engage.  Teaching positions may become more specialized not by subject matter but by presentation style.

The global classroom  changes who is considered a teacher.  I know wonderful people who are good at planning/organizing but are terrible presenters, planners could build the lesson plans.  Currently, there are excellent teachers who are uncomfortable on camera but an actor or expert can present written information.  Salman Khan did not have a teachers degree when he started Khan academy, he is highly educated with 3 degrees (Mathematics, Electrical Engineer, Computer Science) and a MBA.  Looking through the staff biographies of other Khan Academy staff, only a couple had teaching degrees, the others were subject experts ranging from BS/BA degrees to PhD.  As the structure of the classroom changes so will the teacher.  What was once considered a one-person-job may become team teaching: the person planning the lessons, the person presenting the information, and the person monitoring the classrooms.

Global teaching is beneficial to teachers today. Godsey stated that, “A dozen years ago, I proudly worked for about 20 hours to create a lesson plan that taught poetic meter… ” demonstrates how much effort and time teachers were investing into quality teaching for one day.  But time has become precious, individuals do not need to create alone.  Sharing or borrowing ideas for lesson plans that are already developed and effective are helping teaching and making learning more exciting.

What ever the future job situation is for teachers, the profession will continue to be important to student’s and crucial to society’s development.


BYOD to Bridge the Digital Divide

BYOD (Bring your own devices) is an article that was published in 2013.  The broadcast investigated how poverty and/or having access to broadband affects student learning.  The show addresses key elements about assisting students that lack access to technology preventing 21st Century learning.  According to New Week Magazine, over 2.5 million children experienced homelessness in 2013.  The study does not include children living below the poverty line and can not afford technology or broadband.  Michael Mills, the presenter on BYOD, stated that when students are able to use technology or use their own personal devices, test scores increased by 30%.  To assist at risk students he recommends:

  1. allow students to use their own devices
  2. all students should have access to broadband or computers
  3. redefine what academic productivity means

Governments are spending millions of dollars purchasing technology and updating schools.  It is important that the same investment is being used to train teachers in how to implement the technology in the classroom to provide productive learning.

The following news reel from BBC compares, internationally, student time spent on computers during the school day and student standardized test scores.  South Korea and Shanghai spent little time on technology yet had the highest scores.  So how are these countries scoring higher on standardized tests compared to countries that allow for personalized devices?

My kids attended a school where computers were assigned to every student for the whole school year to use in school and at home.  The kids loved having their own laptop and played several games.  The computers were used for homework and in the classroom, not to their full potential. It was not the computers that changed study habits or learning skills, but the home environment, which emphasized education.  To raise test scores, I think schools are going to have to go beyond just giving student access to devices and connections, but  teach students how to monitor homework expectations, especially in homes where both parents work and are not able to assist students.

Let’s use Video to Reinvent Education


b-salman-khan-d0bad0bed0bfd0b8d18fThe first time I heard about Khan Academy was on NPR, the show was interviewing Salman Khan.  The concept of providing free classes around the world is inspiring.  My son, at the time was also struggling through Algebra II.  We had already brought a home school curriculum to subsidize classroom teaching, so having a third source that was free, even better.  So Khan Academy was added to my sons homework load by the meanest parents.  We all survived the year!

NPR aired the show on 05 January 2016.


After this broadcast I learned college friends and public schools were using the program.  My family was sold on the product.  Now for a class, I watched Let’s use Video to Reinvent Education?  Using videos to teach is not new, but the application and presentation has changed.

Salman Khan is humorous when presenting.  Khan Academy started because Salman was helping his cousins, created videos for them to watch, he posted the videos on Youtube, the rest is history.  It was nice to hear the development of the program and also interesting that Salman is not a teacher but was an analyst for a hedge fund.  The videos are not revolutionary but how schools and individuals are grasping at the usage, demonstrates that the education system is ready for an overhaul.

Videos are useful tools for learning because it allows the student to: 1. pause and repeat as needed, 2. are less embarrassing and students do not have to confess not having prior knowledge, and 3.  no one is asking, “Do you understand?”  Videos are self paced.  Learners that may have taken hours learning one concept may still spend hours in that one section, but the other sections may take minutes.  The system allows for students to spend the time where he/she needs.  In the current math system, the class moves onto a new concept as a whole.

Teachers have the ability to track the students using Khan Academy.  Reports allows a teacher to see if a student has watched the video, how many problems were worked, how long it took per a problem, what sections of the video were repeatedly watched, and more.  This information allows the teacher to adjust lesson plans to fix problem areas and to know which students need more personalized assistance.

Looking for negative evaluations about Khan Academy is hard.  Most reviews were positive from students, teachers, and parents.





Taking Learning Outside

classroom-outsidePodcasts are great not just for professional development but for family enrichment as well.  My family listens to podcasts while preparing and eating breakfast.  Podcasts are short, packed with information, and provide discussion topics.  The kids will play podcasts that interest them allowing me, as a parent, to stay informed so I can converse about superheros, Pokemon, or Dr. Who.  I look for podcasts on topics that will enhance learning for school, about travelling locations we are visiting, current trends in politics, or other interest.  Starting off the morning with a conversation is better than a cup of caffeine.

Dr. Ruth Wilson  works to connect children with nature and Heidi Veal is assistant principal at McKinney, TX school.  The link to BAM Radio podcasts is below.

Both Dr. Wilson and Veal are in agreement that nature is a child’s natural habitat.  Children explore first and vocabulary building is everywhere in nature.  Taking students outside if for all ages and academic fields.  Nature incorporates the senses: students are touching, seeing, hearing, and developing.  Being outside the student usually want to know and understand more.

Go beyond just taking students outside but have learning centers outside.   Teachers should direct intentional lessons that direct students to the learning goal with well developed questions.  Prepare for planned activities but expect the unexpected, this is nature.  Take the unexpected and turn that into a  learning lesson.  Children will want to know more about a topic and ask questions.  Answer the questions of turn questions around to have the student think.  A teacher does not need to know much about nature because nature is about observing.

Since nature is everywhere, even urban schools with small open spaces can provide learning opportunities: have a pot garden, study insects, wind chimes, wind movement, cloud observation, are a few examples of noticing nature.  Observation journals were highly stressed.





Extracurricular Empowerment

Wow what a contrast between last week’s video GENERATION LIKE ( to this weeks video EXTRACURRICULAR EMPOWERMENT


Extracurricular Empowerment showed how some teenagers have raised the conscientiousness of societies on social issues and how other teenagers have started earning a wage.  These teens discovered that their ideas were worth while and that viewers were interested in what they had to say.  This video really shows how social media can be utilized to motivate teenagers to express themselves meaningfully.

Schools really do need to invest in teaching teachers how to use technology in the classroom to assist student but also teach teachers to let students explore.  School need to expand, as the speaker states, from the extracurricular and start design curriculum to meet student needs.  Not only do students need to know how to create apps or webpages, the need to learn how to sell their products.  Many schools have already started to offer Entrepreneurship courses to prepare students.

As an adult it isn’t just about getting rid of my fears and moving beyond control.  It is also the fact that I just do not want more accounts, more passwords, more “friends”, more pages to read.  I can barely get a book read anymore.  But if it means connecting to youth, not just my own, but students as well, then its time to make social media important.  If I’m asking students to expand their minds/horizons, than I need to be expanding mine. Who knows, in a few month maybe I can have thousands of followersemoji





Teachers have more influence in the classroom than any other factor to improve
 the quality of education.  Great teachers, whose students score in the top 25% 
teach 1.5 years worth of curriculum, in comparison to those teachers whose
 econ.jpgstudents scored in the bottom 10%, they only 
 taught .5 years worth of curriculum.                                       Families that can afford to subsidize the                                     education through other programs.
 Educational reform is looking at increasing
 the accountability of teachers.
 What is interesting is that the article 
 continue to states that teaching the common
 way does not work, grouping by ability is
 espoused as a bad idea, and students can 
 discover complex ideas by themselves a 
 bad notion.  Students need teachers to 
 impart knowledge and critical thinking.
 What makes a good teacher are motives, time 
management, fostering good behaviors, and high expectations.  The article is two
pages and worth skimming, but is basically saying what we are learning in classes,
teachers are having to change.  Not just looking at the teacher but how the
work place can help transitions.      

Generation Like

The video GENERATION LIKE is about the importance of being accept by peers and the advantages advertising companies use to manipulate teenagers vulnerabilities.  There are more topics presented in the video, but after watching, I felt glad not rely on social media for my self worth.  Keeping in mind, the report has bias that I felt seeped into the video.  If this is about how teens connect, than the reporter should have focused a few questions to the teens about what defines a friendship and had them describe their friendships.

Tyler, the video-personality that had 500 videos, gives the impression that he is cool and in charge.  He starts by saying that he created his blog because his two friends moved away.  Losing friends is hard at any age, but its not clear that he has found “true” friends with his blogging.  Yes he has been offered great experiences, going to MTV awards, becoming famous.  No one will deny he is business savvy and supports his charities. But the question is, has he made friends through blogging?  The people on his show are after linking blog pages to get “likes”, it a using relationship or a business partnership, not a friendship.

The commentator, while talking with Kaylie Lynch, even stated “Its cool.  When you get a “like”, people notice and starting following as well.”  This statement can be interpreted in many ways, but positive.  It was hard to tell if the commentator thought teens just followed the pack with no thought or that the teen posting was given an artificial popularity.  It felt like Kaylie needed validation about herself.  It is hard to base self-image on an item that will lose popularity.  The HUNGER GAMES franchise is still strong, but the frenzy has died down and in a few years replaced.

Social media has “empowered”, “gives a voice”, “knows I’m there” were statement students have made.  Then the commentator states, “media gives teens a voice for anyone wanting to listen.”  This really gives a negative perspective of social media.  To further impact the manipulation of social media, corporations use youth to promote products.  The young skate boarder started out skating because he like the sport.  He evolves to acting outlandish to keep views.   The social pressure for him behave in borderline behavior to keep views is appalling, but then to have companies pay him, not in cash put in products, is ridiculous and shameful.  Companies would pay thousands to reach the same audience the skate boarder reaches, yet he is given a skateboard.  I’m not sure having a middle schooler dance shirtless between two grown women just for amusement is promoting the best future for the skate boarding youth.

There were a few more stories, but all them had the same feel, that the satisfaction of popularity was temporary, companies were using unwitting teens for advertising, and the term friendship has a different meaning.

There was no mention of how the teens feel if there are few or no “likes” to a page.  Here is one video my sons watched in school.