RESEARCH IN ACTION II

Click on the link below to read the second in TEACHER PLUS’s series RESEARCH IN ACTION: Research in Action 2

FROM CHALK TO PEN: First article in this program offered by THINKING TEACHER

FROM CHALK TO PEN:  THINKING TEACHER takes pleasure in posting an article by Sudeshna Sanchety, who teaches Economics in St. Joseph’s Convent, Chandannagar, West Bengal, and has been a teacher for 20 years. She worked with us to write the first article in this program. Her interests include reading, organising and conducting youth activities. Become somebody nobody thought you could be……. Sudeshna Sanchety Pre ISC tests results were out and – oh dear! Six students in my class of 54 had fared extremely poorly in my subject, Economics. I called them aside after class and enquired about their disastrous performance. Their answers made my heart sink…. “Ma’am this subject is too tough; we don’t understand it well…..” “Ma’am the graphs are so confusing!” “It would be nice if we are shown the correct answer patterns.” “We write but we don’t seem to get marks.” I was more disheartened than they were, because it was evident that I had failed to realise their problem until now. But I am a fighter and I will not leave any battle without a struggle. Before setting out to help these students, I did some introspection as to why I had failed to understand that some of my pupils had a serious problem in understanding the subject that I (thought I) taught so sincerely. I have usually found that 30-35% students display a lack of understanding – the rest of them seem to get it.  Either these do not comprehend the questions at all or they fail to express their learning in an optimal way. I reflected that this must surely be a problem for...

FROM CHALK TO PEN

Thrown into the deep end: How I learned to teach A teacher learns on the job, regardless of the number of degrees and diplomas (s)he may have picked up before working as a teacher. Without meaning to belittle formal education courses that a would-be teacher takes, it is commonly experienced by many a teacher that there is no better way to learn how to become a teacher than to plunge into the deep end – and pick up the skills on the job. For it is not until one is faced with a bunch of youngsters that one discovers – and then puts into practice – one’s own (often unarticulated) theories of teaching and learning. Most often, it is the teacher of one’s own school days who unwittingly plays out through the novice teacher, as she draws on her own student days to tackle the enormous challenge before her. Sometimes, the tyrant teacher of one’s own student days is recalled with fear as one tries hard to be as unlike that teacher as possible! Times have changed, however, and so have the attitudes and mindsets of today’s youngsters. Old tricks don’t work as well any more, and each situation is unique. When it is hard to find answers as one dips into one’s past, there is no choice but to look for new solutions to totally new problems. And so it is that every teacher is forced to think on his feet: and meet each day’s googlies as they are bowled to him by energetic students, harried parents and demanding Principals. As a teacher, you, too, must have encountered...

FILM REVIEW: Action Research Case Studies

Copy and paste the link below onto your browser window: http://teachersofindia.org/en/periodicals/learning-curve-issue-xxvi-teacher and visit pages 73-76 for a review of films on Action Research done by teachers in a school in Uttarakhand, India

BOOK REVIEW: THE REFLECTIVE TEACHER

Copy and paste the link below onto your browser window: http://teachersofindia.org/en/periodicals/learning-curve-issue-xxvi-teacher and visit pages 77-78 for a BOOK REVIEW

An Invitation

One of the books that I am very grateful for having picked up at an airport book store is a charming collection of letters to and from Richard Feynman titled  Don’t you have time to think? Amongst the compilation is a touching exchange between Feynman and his high school Physics teacher, Abram Baden. The teacher wrote congratulating his former student on winning the Nobel Prize, observing humorously that if the Committee had known that Feynman had once been his student, they would have had no choice in conferring the Prize on him! Feynman replied in a similarly light vein, and also recounted how he had once been called aside by Baden during his school years – to be told that he made far too much noise in class. However, Baden had added that he knew why this was so: Feynman was plainly bored. So Baden gave him Wood’s Calculus to read, telling him to sit at the far end of the class,  and not to bother focusing on his Physics lessons – but to occupy himself with Wood’s book. Feynman now wrote thanking his teacher for giving him that chance of self-tutoring in Calculus. I was struck by the amazing connect between the teacher and his pupil. Quite clearly, this teacher had understood his student very well. This excerpt led me to reflect on how close Feynman had come to being scolded, punished and suppressed – had he not had such an understanding teacher. How many people have had that unforgettable moment (or moments) in a class? How many of us have a distinct memory of a teacher who...

BOOK REVIEW

http://www.teacherplus.org/bookfilm-review/the-power-of-action-research The power of action research 4 April 2016No Comment Arun Elassery “I’m just trying to tell you the new way they’re teachin’ the first grade, stubborn. It’s the Dewey Decimal System.” Having never questioned Jem’s pronouncements, I saw no reason to begin now. The Dewey Decimal System consisted, in part, of Miss Caroline waving cards at us on which were printed “the,” “cat,” “rat,” “man,” and “you.” No comment seemed to be expected of us, and the class received these impressionistic revelations in silence. I was bored, so I began a letter to Dill. Miss Caroline caught me writing and told me to tell my father to stop teaching me. “Besides,” she said. “We don’t write in the first grade, we print. You won’t learn to write until you’re in the third grade.” – From ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee Having read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ some hundred times while growing up, I remembered Dewey. However, his was only one of the two names I did recognize from the 93 references given at the end of Dr Neeraja Raghavan’s ‘The Reflective Teacher – Case Studies of Action Research’. Starting from – Adkins-Coleman, T. A., and J. E. Lyons. 2010. ‘I am not afraid to come into your world’: Case studies of teachers facilitating engagement in urban High School English classrooms. Journal of Negro Education 79(1): 41-53. …and 91 other similarly difficult sounding references later to – Zhang, Meilan, Mary Lundeberg and Jan Eberhardt. 2011. Strategic facilitation of problem-based discussion for teacher professional development. Journal of the Learning Sciences 20(3): 342-94 …It was clear to me that...