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David Bradley

Project Manager, ALPFA Institute

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Calling all teachers! What do you need to teach your students effectively?

My focus is on k-12 teachers, principles, administrators, etc. I know everyone is going to say money, but think outside of that please. Give me specifics.

Examples: leadership development, cultural understanding, curriculum (what subjects?), social project ideas, positive social platforms, online books, management training...

Thank you for your help and input

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    Mar 17 2012: I think that teachers need to feel supported from all directions, from their peers, from the head of their department, from their principle/president, from the district, from parents, and even feel support from their students. The other thing that I think is super important is strong training and development. Both in their grade/subject area, but also in classroom management and how to effectively communicate with parents. Just a few thoughts.
  • Mar 17 2012: I began as an English teacher four years ago, mainly teaching adults. Not having any idea what I was doing, I was fairly open to anything. Being pretty passionate about learning and patient with the process, I generally either get very advanced business classes or, more interestingly, the students no else in the school want. In these past four years I have learned one thing for sure - almost all of my students, whatever their standard, have been scared by their formal learning process and - although unsure and nervous at first - have responded very well to my standard invitation to all my students, namely, "What you you like to learn and how do you feel we can best go about this?" At first, I did it more as a way of opening dialogue, but I have been more than surprised by how many people have thought about this and give positive feedback and contributions. When I began, in response to my students, to add cooking classes, art, dance, knitting, music, etc., into the mix, the whole thing just took off.

    Turns out, it's more than possible for my impossible students to learn to speak, so much so I that I've opened my own small school so that I can specialise in this area. The great thing about the adult learning process, and perhaps the big difference from teaching children, is that the teacher is not a teacher, but a facilitator. We, students and teachers, are partners.
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    Mar 11 2012: What is standing in the way of effective teachers is just as, if not more, important. New federal intervention in the form of Common Core Standards (CCSS). State intervention by Standards of Learning (SOL). Teachers evaluations based on student grades. Having to jump through hoops that are continually being raised higher and made smaller until it is impossible to obtain. Having book publishers drive the curriculum. Having test developers design outside of both book coverage and established curriculums. Keeping the Instrument to Measure Standards requirement of the No Child Left Behind Law. Legislators at all levels attempting to nationalize education into cookie cutter teachers and students. The fear of lawsuits that drive administration and tie up teachers. Make school staff inclusive instead of exclusive. Make administrators accessable to the public. Superintendents and Principals are the enemy devise a new image. It would be great to be appreciated or even supported. Employ 21st century technology and tools. We still rely on extrinsic motivation and should redirect to intrinsic motivation. Develop modular instruction and competent / non- competent advancement much in the form of khanacademy.org. Develop a course map from K-12 and allow student to progress at thier own pace while remaining with their peers for social development.

    We need to re-evaluate the Bismark system we are under. It was great in the 1700's. To keep putting bandages on it is insane. We must realize that not all students are college bound and develop a two tier system of College Prep and Manual Trades tracks. If we cannot solve these problems it is certain that brick and mortar schools will give way to on line for profit schools. A footnote: Schools treat volunteers really bad. Take a look at your volunteer programs and see how they are treated as second class citizens. On parents night we lecture the parents in a ten minute class meeting. Thanks. Out of space.
  • Mar 15 2012: So mary students in school loss the ability which belong to them. Such as creativity, the teachers always order the students do this or not do that .I don't like the style of teaching .Maybe some of people don't agree my veiws.
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      Mar 16 2012: I very much agree! Independent thought, creative expression, and the ability to think beyond a linear capacity are not taught in schools anymore.
  • Mar 12 2012: In today's very social everything lifestyle and yet very individual technology everything world. It is important to be a good architect working on self creating good body, mind and ripples of actions and circles of relationships. It is very important to build a home of life in this place, i very much like to see as a giant social networking place. Offcourse i would wish the work of god for another living would be better but this place needs work right from young age and careful planning and creating and choosing the right life lego blocks and build a nice cosy life home within which you can cuddle and outwardly can give a warm hug.

    So i would say teach kids to see life as a home and teach them to build a home which radiates happiness.
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    Mar 11 2012: Most of the schools in my vicinity use a variety of online videos and supplements like TED lectures and other videos. Many of the publishers of the textbooks students use- say high school textbooks- have a code kids can enter in to get lots of supplementary material and help online plus access to the online version. Bill Gates has famously shared that he uses Kahn Academy for helping his kids with computation. There are excellent learning communities online as well for young people and online learning through a variety of sources, like Johns Hopkins CTY, or Stanford online. Of course today's learners are digital natives, so they are great at accessing content resources, with some help from teachers as to how to distinguish content experts from not.
    One clearinghouse teachers use for education updates is the ERIC data base.
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    Mar 11 2012: I don't know what is inside and what is "outsude of the administrative day-to-day." Could you clarify what you mean by either inside or outside the administrative day to day in reference to student learning? Once you do that, I would be happy to try to help.
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      Mar 11 2012: I guess I'm thinking more along the lines of tools that can be accessed online to help supplement structured curriculum. Videos with lessons from content experts, free knowledge resources, what kind of info for these resources, a database for current trends in education, etc. Any specific insight into these types of things?

      I'm working on an open source project and I'm trying to get some insight into some specifics.
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    Mar 11 2012: Parental involvement in the education of their children. Teachers have great tools and good ones have the desire to teach. What teachers do not have are atudents who know that their job is to learn. That is because we as parents have failed to instill in our children a respect for the teacher.
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    Mar 11 2012: How funny. I read your question (before reading your elaboration) and would never have thought of money as the answer to it. When I read your description, my first thought was how very curious that you would think "everyone is going to say money."
    What a teacher needs most, I think, is the flexibility to try to meet the needs of each child in her charge. This requires permission to adapt the curriculum according to her judgment as to what will work for the kids in front of her and to be relieved of too many meetings and too much paperwork so that she can concentrate on what she entered the profession to do- teach kids. As a supplement to help her teach her kids effectively, it would be wonderful if every child could be provided a good breakfast, lunch, a jacket, and school supplies.
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      Mar 11 2012: Thanks for the reply! And I'm sorry that it came across in that way, I should have known that the audience that would be replying to this question would be smarter than the average... That was my bad. If you can't tell, this is my first question to add on TED.

      So, outside of the administrative day-to-day, what kind of tools could be provided that could enhance a student's experience?