Wednesday, January 29, 2014

#ShareTheMess: A Bad Pedagogy Day

My kids are nearing the end of a super intense unit that attempts to figure out why Afghanistan is the way it is today: it traces the history of Afghanistan through foreign meddling as well as the cultural and geographic factors that make Afghanistan unique. It’s a way more traditional unit than my class has been thus far this year: there are a lot of primary and secondary sources worked in with some videos and contextual direct instruction. A progressively structured history unit - very Common Core-friendly - that isn’t pedagogically innovative.

The unit is sequentially planned and kids have tons of questions: there is a lot to be curious about in Afghanistan! For this reason, the lessons blend into each other and don’t necessarily end when the bell rings.

But enough excuses. Today, the end of one lesson - that involved direct instruction - ran into the beginning of the next lesson. That also involved direct instruction.

A bad pedagogy crap-nado of badness!

I essentially never use direct instruction to the whole class. To small groups? Sure. Not the whole class though.

And when my kids got bored and drifted out of paying attention, I couldn’t even get angry at them. I wouldn’t want to listen to me talk - it isn’t fair to expect that of them then.

It got better the second time through - because I decided to play every musical reference that I made while doing the direct instruction. Thanks for making fifth period better than first period, Peter Gabriel and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

So there you have it. I was a bad teacher today.

Better tomorrow.