Friday, April 20, 2012

Which One, Which One?

The other night, I sat in on another incredible presentation by the Global Physics Department* on the Flipped Classroom. As you probably know, I am pretty entrenched in the Modeling right now, but Brian had me thinking of ways to add in some Flipping as well.

It really got me thinking about every teacher around the country that I peek in on. You've got Frank, who will fight tooth and nail to convince you that Modeling is THE way to go. Terie has developed a to die for one-to-one-PBL classroom that I must visit one day. And then whatever the hell Shawn does in his classroom that I simply cannot look away from.

These are all amazing teachers who all teach in different ways, but when it comes down to it, they are all getting the job done. Kids are engaged, kids are learning and from what I can tell, kids are having a good time doing it.

But what I really see as a common thread here is the latitude that is given to kids to show off their learning. Even within each individual teaching personality, there is no one size fits all method. Kids are given individual attention and they are allowed to express their learning in a way that truly fits their style. Whoa! Wait a minute isn't there some edujargon buzz word that describes this? I think it might start with a "d"**.

This is what I am after. I want to find what it is that motivates my kids and what it is that they find interesting. I don't mind a little mess and chaos in my room. I love the activity and noise and movement. I am totally okay with not having complete control over every second of my class time. While an unknowing administrator might question (and has) the learning going on, I have kids who are actually using the term "inertia" correctly in a sentence. This is beyond exciting to me, especially when I know for a fact that kid can't even spell inertia.

But the truth is...this is hard. This is exhausting. Even when you love it as much as I do, there comes a point where those textbooks start calling to you. So when I mention to the physics teacher across the hall that there is a Modeling workshop being held this summer, I understand why he hesitates. He is smart enough to know that ultimately, he is going to have to work and change a lot more than he really wants to. Part of me gets that.

But the other part of me wonders if maybe this isn't the job for him.

*Seriously, even if you don't teach physics, join in on Wednesday evenings. This is what PLC is meant to be.

**Differentiation. Did you really have to look??


Peter Bohacek said...

I whole heartedly agree with this post. The Global Physics Department is a refreshing antidote to the isolation that many physics teachers experience. I look forward every week to listening to and exchanging ideas with people who puzzle over the same questions I do.

Tracie Schroeder said...

GPD is amazing! Just the idea of being able to connect with teachers all over the world gives me goosebumps :) I am definitely a better teacher because of these interactions.

Unknown said...

The Global Physics Department has helped me keep up the good fight to provide quality instruction in all of my classes. I am humbled and inspired by members of this group and the presenters each and every week!

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