Sunday, July 26, 2015

Directed or Inspired?

On a recent road trip, I heard a talk show use these words. It made me think: how many classrooms have teachers who direct kids to learn? The answer-too many. With standard testing firmly in place, too many teachers feel they must make sure kids read books and answer "test like" questions. Where is the inspiration in that? The special learners (you know who they are) feel directed. They hate coming to class. Can you imagine how you would feel day after day, knowing you will never do well? It's like picking up a physics book day after day trying to make sense of it because someone said it has to be done to pass the test. (sorry in advance to any physics people....I am not a math person!)

I was intrigued with the ideas of directed and inspired and looked at some research. I found a group of researchers at Case Western Reserve University. They looked at 2 types of coaching. One was positive emotional and the other was negative emotional. In the positive emotional session, the researchers were able to show that asking sophomores to talk about their dream future in 10 years activated parts of the visual cortex involved in imagining things. The more positive approach stimulated those parts of the brain involved in being open to new ideas and other people. The negative emotional session asked students who they were doing on their homework, readings, and assignments. It was found in this type of session, the questioning activated areas in the brain know to indicate self-consciousness and guilt.

Here is another article:

INSPIRE!!!!! Just hearing the word lifts the spirit. Everyone needs a role model and the story behind them. Cue in the picture books! Picture books are not just for young children. The shorter text, which can be high level with vocabulary, along with the pictures can help kids build knowledge and build vocabulary. Picture books can take children of all ages into new cultures and new experiences. The text and pictures help build images and help make connections to experiences or build a curiosity for a new idea. 

And, to the math people- There are many picture books about math concepts. I sure wish these books were around when I was in school. Maybe, just maybe these math picture books would have inspired me and I would have been a better math student. 

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