Monday, October 14, 2013

Remembering before Creating, Understanding before Evaluation.

You know the drill, right? I mean, I first heard this when I was an elementary school teacher in a small urban school district in Texas...and it wasn't any different when I went to East Texas. Whether poor or rich, the idea was simple:
Before children can be taught to reach the higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy, they needed to progress through the lower levels of Knowledge, Application.
Scratch the surface of many writing teachers today, and you may uncover a bias that hearkens back to yesteryear. Before we can teach narrative writing, poetry, students must first master how to diagram sentences and vocabulary. What?!? That's crazy now by anyone's research.
Source: UNC Charlotte

What if I told you that these attitudes persist in regards to technology? I often feel I've stepped into a time machine, flashing back to the day when i taught writing and had to put up with the grammar-grannies teaching down the hall, asking, "Why aren't you diagramming sentences? Why aren't you teaching adverbs and adjectives?"
"I AM teaching adverbs and adjectives in the context of students' writing." At the time, over 20 years ago when I was a year one teacher (gulp), I was one of three teachers facilitating writing workshop in Cotulla ISD in Cotulla, Texas (same district President Lyndon Baines Johnson worked as a school teacher, BTW, albeit long before my time).

It's amazing that writing workshop continues to fight an uphill battle (not unlike PBL) in schools when it's been shown to work, and that teaching lower order thinking skills still is perceived as the way before teaching HOTS. Of course, in all these cases, students in low socio-economic settings NEVER get to the higher-order thinking, to the good stuff...instead, they are forced to learn the low over and over again. And, that's something teachers who say, "They need to learn the low end of [whatever] first before they get to the HOTS!" never quite seem to get.

They just didn't get it. They simply taught the way the Houghton-Mifflin textbook said they should. Now, I see it again. There simply isn't time to teach writing and technology together; instead, let's teach them apart.

Let's see...

  • Teachers must learn how to facilitate writing workshop before they blend technology in.
  • Teachers must learn how to differentiate instruction before they blend technology in.
  • Teacher must learn how to teach students how to do arithmetic before problem-solving.
  • Teachers must learn how to use a word processor before they can be productive writers.
  • Teacher must learn how to....

You get the idea. For teacher or for students, the obstacles are in our own minds.

Thanks to Andrew Churches for the following....

Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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