Teaching in a Secondary School

By Robert Griffin | Go to book overview

8
What Can a Good Student Do?

Above anything else we may know about a student -- about her home life or interests or personality -- our first obligation as teachers is to know her as a student. To help her move beyond her current level academically, we need to be familiar with her status as a learner and what she most needs to work on in order to become a more capable and productive student. We need to ask ourselves: What is the cutting edge of this student's work in school? What does she need to learn and develop in herself next? What is her orientation to her studies and how capable is she of achieving academically? What does she need to change or enhance in herself to be most successful in her classes?

Not only do we need to answer these questions, students need to answer them about themselves as well. Students need to acquire what can be called academic self-understanding. If students are pretty much in the dark in this regard -- and I believe many of them are -- they won't in any meaningful way be able to contribute to their own learning and development. They won't know where to direct their energies. They won't know what strengths in themselves and possibilities in the situation to draw upon. They won't know what weaknesses in themselves to overcome and what external circumstances to alter. They won't know where they need to compensate for deficiencies in themselves or in their world. They won't be able to work effectively with those who try to help them. Instead, they will be dependent on the school to handle these matters for them, and, given the large-scale, impersonal setting that characterizes so many schools, and the many responsibilities and preoccupations of teachers and other school professionals that draw upon their energies, the school might be slow getting

-65-

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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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