Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach: A Handbook for Secondary School Teachers

Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach: A Handbook for Secondary School Teachers

Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach: A Handbook for Secondary School Teachers

Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach: A Handbook for Secondary School Teachers

Synopsis

This text, designed as a handbook for preservice and beginning teachers, is organized to address broad topics in secondary school teaching rather than the needs of specific subject areas. While examples are included from specific subject disciplines, the focus is on the relationships among them (concepts, skills, practices). Preservice teachers in secondary school general methods classes and student teaching seminars are frequently preoccupied with two problems--classroom control and figuring out exactly what is the role of the teacher. These problems are compounded by methods texts that compartmentalize different aspects of teaching (theory, practice, critical analysis). Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach: A Handbook for Secondary School Teachers provides an alternative.

• Although different approaches to secondary teaching are included, a model student-centered approach is offered that provides a series of "PRO/CLASS Practices" for designing lessons, developing personal connections with students, and building classroom communities. (The acronym stands for P lanning, R elationships, O rganization, C ommunity, L eadership, A ssessment, S upport, S truggle.)

• The broad principles of PRO/CLASS Practice are presented as part of an integrated approach to teaching -- not as a recipe to be followed mechanically. Preservice teachers are encouraged to reinterpret the principles and continually redefine them as they develop their own reflective practice.

• A variety of pedagogical features and activities are integrated throughout the text, including sample "Nuts and Bolts" teaching techniques (lesson and unit design, activities, questions, projects, team learning, community building) that can be used in different types of classrooms and by teachers employing different pedagogical approaches; conversations with preservice teachers; interviews and conversations with teachers; essays about classroom issues; and reflections on teaching goals and processes.

Excerpt

Traditionally union organizers have used songs to encourage coworkers to join their ranks. Woody Guthrie, perhaps America's best known labor minstrel, rewrote a religious hymn, “Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley” as “You Gotta Go Down and Join the Union.” The point of Guthrie's song is that no one can make the decision to join a union for you. You have to make that decision for yourself. That advise holds true for teaching as well. Other people's ideas and experiences will only take you so far. You need to practice teaching, think about teaching, and talk about teaching for yourself. The idea that teachers have to continually evaluate what they are doing in their classrooms is called reflective practice. To help you develop the habit of reflective practice, sections in this book generally end with an activity that invites you to JOIN THE CONVERSATION and present your own ideas. Share your ideas with classmates in education classes and with other teachers. You will discover that you have much to offer your colleagues and it will make the process of becoming a teacher much more exciting.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION—SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

Budget cuts. Strikes. Public debates. Curriculum revisions. “Five and a homeroom.” High- minded theories and the daily grind. Working with TEENAGERS. Why do you want to be a secondary school teacher? Why would anybody want to be a secondary school teacher? How do secondary schools work? Do they work? Can they work? What did you like and dislike about your own school experiences? Thirty years until retirement: Do I want to get involved in this? If I decide to give it a shot, what do I have to do to survive? To be good at it? To make a difference?

Question to Consider:

Why do I want to be a teacher?

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