House of Literature Bookmobile

This is the place I share book (movie) selections and reviews I have found worth mentioning. I'll also share gleanings of family life, faith, home education, and ongoing writing projects. Book selections will include children's books, books on home education, Catholic books, classics, series, raising children, and books that are made for reading under a shady oak tree with lemonade, in a bubble bath with a latte', or next to a snuggly fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. Happy Reading!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Jigsaw Teaching

Jigsaw Teaching?

Ah, a new schooling term and an interesting one at that. I have not fully finished reading this piece by SecretAgentMan's Dossier, but I did read the top and scanned the bottom and I've highlighed a couple of paragraphs below that shouted at me.

Go here to read the whole piece and nothing but the piece.

"One of the things I noticed about Professor Shulman's presentation to EDU 201 the other week was the virtually-complete absence of the learning methods we've been studying in EDU 302 & 404, and which we're experiencing in EDU 201. Aside from a few "microsocratics" and a couple of Q&As there wasn't any vigorous interaction between the students and Professor Shulman. There weren't any small groups, no role-playing exercises, no collaborative or cooperative efforts. Professor Shulman remain seated and motionless for the first 45 minutes of the class, and while I suspect he stood and "painted the room" as a (very) subtle energy shift, the muted technique didn't change the essential format -- the dicactive lecture we're taught to use almost as a last resort.[1] And yet, to use Professor Frederick's phrase, the lecture was very lively, an "interior dialogue" between Professor Shulman and each of us.So why, on this most auspicious day, one eagerly anticipated by all of us Constructivists, did we default to the didactic-lecture format? Shouldn't we have been treated to a brilliant expose of all those exciting strategies we've been studying? Shouldn't we have seen at least one power-point slide? I think the answer is, "No," perhaps even, "Hell no."Like actors, or policemen, or trial lawyers, what we're studying is methods, the techniques of teaching. And like actors, or policemen on a traffic stop, or lawyers before juries, if we do it right people won't notice 90% of what's going on. Few people waiting on the roadside for a traffic ticket notice the cop's surreptitious hand pushing on the trunk to see if it will open because there's contraband or someone hiding inside. Nor will they notice the cautious approach from the driver's or passenger's blind-side, meant to allow the officer time to observe someone reaching for a weapon or hiding something under the seat. When we see George C. Scott deliver his speech before that huge American flag well, by God, we think it's George S. Patton himself growling at us; we don't notice the acting, the acting is invisible. That's true for teaching, too. The method should be invisible, or at least unobtrusive, because it's not the point of what's happening."

"Lawyers, like educators, have immense power. What future can come from legal men trained in the mold of Cromwell rather than Thomas More? "

"Why, if the topics were so important, didn't Professor Shulman dazzle us with constructivism? I venture the opinion that it's because all the tips and tricks, all the glittering methodology of collaborative classrooms, cooperative learning, "jigsawing" and the like exist because they are deliberately-inefficient ways of teaching.


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