Teaching in a Secondary School

By Robert Griffin | Go to book overview

4
A Focus on Studenting

In this essay I focus on what students are like as students. How do they approach their work in school? What is their orientation? How good are they at doing the work required of a student? If we can talk about teaching, what teachers do -- and we certainly give inordinate attention to that, scrutinizing teachers' every move -- we can do the same for students. Just as some teachers are good at what they do and others don't teach very well, students differ in how good they are at going to school. My assumption is that for schools to be most effective, everybody must do their job well: teachers, administrators, counselors, support staff, school board members, parents, members of the community, and, no less necessarily, the students themselves. This a particularly important area to investigate because if you look at the school as a workplace, which I do, many of its key workers -- students -- are not very good at their jobs. Although that fact gives a certain urgency to these investigations, there doesn't have to be a crisis in student performance levels to warrant an exploration of this area. Just as teachers can alway improve, so can students. It would help if we find ways to support students who are now effective workers to get even better at it.

One problem I am having in addressing this concern is deciding what to call the work of students. We don't have a term, really, for what students do that parallels teaching. If teachers are teaching, what are students doing? They are -- we hope -- learning, but when we talk about learning we usually get into the outcomes students attain. Instead, I want to center my explorations on students' aims, capabilities, predilections, school-going skills, those sorts of things. A second possibility is studying. But students do more than study. Writing a paper, say, or making a presentation, that isn't

-27-

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Teaching in a Secondary School
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Teaching as Work 5
  • 2 - The Self-Surpassing Classroom 11
  • Conclusion 19
  • 3 - Our Values Matter 21
  • 4 - A Focus on Studenting 27
  • 5 - Getting Students to Think for Themselves 31
  • SUMMING UP 40
  • 6 - What is a Good Student Like? 41
  • Conclusion 48
  • 7 - The Importance of Language 50
  • 8 - What Can a Good Student Do? 65
  • Conclusion 71
  • 9 - Teaching Values: The Early Years 72
  • Conclusion 78
  • 10 - What Can Get in the Way of Being a Good Student? 80
  • 11 - Curriculum 88
  • 12 - Becoming a Good Student in School 114
  • 13 - Discussions, Lectures, and Textbooks 124
  • 14 - Motivation 138
  • 15 - Style Counts 149
  • 16 - Advice to a Student on Achieving in School 156
  • 17 - Teaching Values: The Later Years 162
  • 18 - Thoughts on Discipline 181
  • 19 - Helping Students Become More Effective in School 191
  • 20 - Evaluation 200
  • 21 - Planning 211
  • 22 - Teaching and You 229
  • Acknowledgments 239
  • Endnotes 240
  • Index 247
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