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A True Teacher

12/29/2012 6:56 PM

This guy deserves a mention.

Lots of things can be gleaned from the article and accompanying links, but I think one of the most important, is that kids can't be force fed knowledge, like cattle at a trough.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/laws-of-physics-cant-trump-the-bonds-of-love/?smid=fb-share

Anybody remember a teacher who made learning fun?

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#1

Re: A True Teacher

12/30/2012 2:27 PM

My 9th grade algebra teacher, Mr. Krumweidie. He would ride a unicycle to class, juggle when we got something right, put on magic shows, just make algebra fun...

He brought his dog in once with a cooler, to get us to remember perpendicular, "Pup in da cooler". I will never forget him.

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#2

Re: A True Teacher

12/30/2012 2:36 PM

I see that a lot of members have viewed this, but like me, can't really think of what immediately to say. Reading the article, sometimes two or three times, makes you sit back, pause, and look back on your life at who has had such a profound and memorable impact such as this. The best and most important lessons you learn in life - the ones that captivate your attention and remember through your life - come from the teachers and people in your life who share their passion and experiences in a way that no textbook ever can.

My example is from Junior Year High School English Literature. Mrs Parsons knew every author, novelist, and poet there ever was, and found very unique ways to make us FEEL it. One day, she spit up the class into multiple boy-girl teams and had us spend a week memorizing the Elizabeth Barrett-Browning Poem "How do I love thee, let me count the ways". The couples would then get up in front of the class, look into each other's eyes, and recite the poem to each other. Listening to the rest of the class snicker, giggle, and getting red-faced (not exactly fun at the time!!)was well worth it for me, because my poetic partner has been my loving wife for the last 20 years and mother of our children.

Thanks, Kramarat, for sharing this with us.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: A True Teacher

12/30/2012 3:18 PM

That is a great story!

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#4
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Re: A True Teacher

12/30/2012 5:40 PM

That is a good story.

I was one of those kids that was usually bored in school. Kind a class clown.

I had a history teacher, (Mr Lobo), that taught us history by putting us in debate teams.

For example: We would be split into two teams and go through the arguments that were made during the founding of the country.

Whether it was debating or not, he had a way of getting us to imagine ourselves in a particular time in history. I'd say he was a pretty gifted teacher; history can be pretty dry.

I also had a 4th grade teacher, (Ms Rosebrooks), who, at the beginning of the year would assign everyone to go get a box that would contain our desks...........like a refrigerator box. We could decorate them any way we wanted, and they were arranged in a half circle around the room, facing the blackboard, with windows cut out in front and entry doors in the rear.

It was pretty shrewd of her. Everyone wanted the box class, (even though she was kind of mean), and there was no way that we could interact and goof off. All eyes were on her. I ended up doing a lot of learning in that class.

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#17
In reply to #4

Re: A True Teacher

02/08/2013 12:04 PM

History can be very dry, with lots of dates and names to remember, but learning to dig out the principles that drive what happened historically is much more difficult.

I had a Jr. High teacher (Mr. Fisch) who set up a "stock market" during our American History class. The class covered post-Civil War to 1960s, so we had the years of industrialization and transportation / communications growth. Each student was set up with a minor amount of "dollars" to invest as you wanted among a group of stocks. Every Friday the new stock prices were announced, based on the historical events we had studied through the week. We had to decide what to buy & sell, and try to multiply our net worth. It became VERY interesting as we went through the year, and the class really understood a lot more than if it had just been taught as facts and figures to memorize.

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#18
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Re: A True Teacher

02/08/2013 3:11 PM

I had a teacher do the same, but he was a math teacher. That was a lot of fun, and very interesting.

To this day I don't like or trust the stock market.

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#5

Re: A True Teacher

12/30/2012 11:23 PM

A good teacher should teach the students how to use theory/knowledge to solve day to day problems.

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#6

Re: A True Teacher

12/31/2012 6:02 AM

I disagree that kids can't be force fed knowledge. But knowledge on it's own is useless. The kids have to know how to utilise the knowledge and that is where the real teaching is required.

I had a High School history teacher Mr. Dale who insisted that we wrote out longhand the notes that he dictated at high speed. His notes were the distillation of thirty to forty text books on the history topic. Following a few weeks of note taking, every subsequent week we were set an exam grade question that was answered in a limited time, under exam conditions. We were given prior knowledge of the question so we could learn our notes, but we could only quote from the notes that did not relate to the specific topic of the question. So if we had a question of the American War of Independence, we could quote from our notes on, shipping, the structure of the British army and navy, British politics, the policy on slavery, cotton industry imports, banking, advances in steel making and weaponry, but not our notes on the American War of Independence. The result was that we could see how one action related to and affected everything else. We learned history not just as a set of events but as a whole interconnected picture. The high speed note taking also trained us to write fast, so that in the limited time available in an exam we could write down many more facts than the average student. When it came to the final nationally set exams (O level exams), we found them easy because we could quote from all of our notes including those on the specific topic of the question. My whole class (40 students in a Secondary Modern school) passed with the top grade. I went on to pass A level in history at the age of 16 (US equivalent 12th grade national exam while in 10th grade.)

I can remember later having an argument with a university maths lecturer because he wanted to teach me how to perform Furrier analysis, and I wanted him to teach me why and where Furrier analysis works.

Today, if I am asked to increase the speed of a pump, I would probably reply by asking about the motor-pump drive chain, the pump curves, the pipe diameters, and the effect of extra shear on the polymer being pumped, before agreeing.

I cannot speak for other countries but today in the UK students are crammed with information that they are expected to regurgitate in order to pass an examination. Schools are judged on the number of passes and rewarded accordingly. The replacement of High Schools with Academies using prescriptive uniform teaching methods is making the situation worse. The concept of inspiring students to explore how to utilise their knowledge has been jettisoned in the rush for "improved" results. The students are then disappointed when they approach a prospective employer waving their multiple exam certificates and don't get the job or they struggle when they are expected to "think" at university.

Mr Dale was an excellent teacher not because he taught history well, but because his method of teaching history has had profound consequences on my abilities as an engineer.

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: A True Teacher

12/31/2012 7:44 AM

I cannot speak for other countries but today in the UK students are crammed with information that they are expected to regurgitate in order to pass an examination.

That's what I meant by force feeding. It's the same here. In the race for education dollars, teachers are being pushed to create students that can pass tests, rather than students that are genuinely learning.

I had teachers that used similar methods as yours. In the process of learning the material, they kind of tricked, (for lack of a better word), us into developing our critical thinking skills.

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#7

Re: A True Teacher

12/31/2012 6:25 AM

My History teacher in school used to make history as interesting subject by acting himself in dramatic presentation of history. All boys enjoyed the subject and could remember events very easily.

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#9

Re: A True Teacher

12/31/2012 9:36 AM

Thomas Templeton. It was junior college geography class. The guy was great. We were all old enough to be interested in current events and problems of the world.

He'd abandon teaching about once or twice a week and we'd talk about things that were important to us and, many days, we'd go past the end of the class period and have to be pushed out of the room.

Almost every one in the class learned more about critical thinking and life in general than they had all their prior lives.

Then, someone complained that he wasn't "teaching" enough geography and the sessions were reigned in and never the same again.

I remember Mr. Templeton's name to this day. He's about the only one of the hundreds of instructors I had that I still remember.

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#10

Re: A True Teacher

12/31/2012 11:42 AM

I am 58 years old and the one teacher I remember from Grade School in Pennsylvania is Mr. Shirk. He was my 6th Grade teacher and the Principal of our school. I don't remember his specific style of teaching or any particular facts but I remember him specifically for some reason.

He was a strict disciplinarian and when he left the classroom it was as quiet as when he was in the room. I also remember that at the end of the year he gave each of us an envelope with a Thank-you card and a dollar bill. I remember it cost him $26. Once in awhile he would bring in some fish he had caught before school and show us. I'm sure there are other things that stuck but I don't recall them.

The job of a teacher is to help inspire the students to love learning. It is "unwrapping the ice cream sandwich" of information. If the material isn't "unwrapped"/presented in a way that the students find interesting and pertinent they will find the information dull and become unmotivated in the learning experience.

The teacher should also let the students know that probably the most valuable learning will take place outside of the classroom when the information is applied. Too often the students graduate and think their learning is over. It is just beginning. I heard it said that "the most effective way to bring an adult alive is to get him/her learning again through a self-directed education."

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#11

Re: A True Teacher

12/31/2012 5:37 PM

What makes a great teacher? First he/she must feel comfortable when in front of a group, whether they be 1st graders or college seniors. Someone who feels not at ease in front of an audience will telegraph that unease and will not be effective. Self confidence is mandatory for a teacher. He/she must know how to communicate. I like to think of a teacher as a mentor, but they are few.

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#12
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Re: A True Teacher

12/31/2012 8:59 PM

In general I have strong agreement with the "comfortable" comment. But, I remember a college physics teacher that was so interesting to watch that students paid attention and attendance was always better than for other teachers (even when surf was up). What was his secret? On most days he was so stoned that he was paranoid and twitchey. Students would watch his every move looking for the slightest mistake. Why, because they knew he would be very uncomfortable after a mistake. I never once felt that his delivery of material suffered from being stoned but it did improve the entertainment value of his performance.

One day he accidentally slipped out of one of his lace-less tennis shoes. He taught for about 10 minutes with one shoe on and the other off until he got up the courage to stop and put his shoe back on. Another day his face turned bright red and his blood pressure must have gone up 30 points because he got a batch of bad chalk and broke about 6 pieces. He thought it was his fault, we knew it wasn't. Sometimes silly little things make kids pay attention in class.

No, I do not recommend this method for any other teachers.

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#13

Re: A True Teacher

12/31/2012 9:11 PM

you inspired me to tell a true story.

I was on a job-site once in Irvine CA. there was only a single phone for use (pre- cell phone of course.the lead electrician on the job ws a bit impatient and he was losing his cool with his assistants. I was using the phone and was on hold when he came to use the phone and we got into a quick conversation, I asked him what was up? he said he needed to call his office because there was no way he could finish this job with the dumb f#$#%s they sent to help him. prior to this we got along so I offered him a little advice. I said, "just remember, at one time you were a Dumb@#$% too!" someone took the time to show you what to do.

I guess the bell rang, he just turned and walked away. I assumed I reminded of something from his past, perhaps it was time to pay a debt he owed. I left that site that day and never saw him again.

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: A True Teacher

01/01/2013 12:08 PM

That's a great point.

There are lots of excellent teachers outside the classroom. I've always gravitated toward people that are happy to explain things to me..................whether it's automotive work, or tile setting. In turn, I always try to take the time to share what I know with others, if they are interested.

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#14

Re: A True Teacher

01/01/2013 9:03 AM

I found Anupam Mishra's lectures very effective and educating on youtube and elsewhere.However He is not a teacher by profession.

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#16

Re: A True Teacher

01/31/2013 1:29 AM

A True Teacher is a god for every student which make to every student perfect in education & give a lot of knowledge.......I always respect to my teachers because I'm now successfull with the blessings of my teachers....

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