Posts tagged Videos
Good Teaching Is Student Centered. Stop Depicting It Otherwise.

The first Tuesday of May is National Teacher Day, a factoid once known mostly by pedants and calendar completist, but thanks to Google's doodle celebrating the day of appreciation, the word may be getting out. 

Too bad they botched it.

Google Doodles have a long history of controversy, which says something about the company's brand and influence. The company has long insisted that the doodles are apolitical -- meant for fun and a way for staffers to express their passions. This may be true but being featured as a doodle is no small thing.

Literally. According to internet live stats, Google processes about 40,000 searches a second, or about 3.5 billion searches a day.

Even if you discount the people who won't see a particular doodle (Google varies them by nation), the number of impressions (or times Google shows it to a person) is huge.

An "A" in Good Intentions

So many, many people will see the doodle, and isn't that a good thing? Aren't teachers worthy of praise? Besides, how controversial could a teacher appreciation doodle really be?

Google Doodle for Teacher Appreciation Day (May 9, 2017)

Google Doodle for Teacher Appreciation Day (May 9, 2017)

Because this is the Internet, I'm not ready to discount the likelihood that someone, somewhere will find a way to make it controversial, but the doodle itself isn't particularly inviting of controversy; we're not talking Pepsi-level tone deafness.

Rather, it is skillfully designed if not somewhat banal and obvious. And therein lies the rub.

Google needs to create an image that catches the user's eye while conveying the idea pictorially. This means it has to be simple to understand. Enter the visual shorthand.

To wit, the doodle features six figures in front of a screen that flips through representations of various math and science subjects. The largest figure is the teacher. We know this because... well... it's teaching. Or at least teaching in the way we generally think about teaching.

Notice that it's much larger than the other figures (teachers work with children!); it has a book and glasses (teachers are academics!). And, most importantly, it has a pointer and half open mouth (teachers love pontificating on important things.)

Break the Stereotype

Aubrey and David Discuss the Whys and Hows of Student Centered Learning

None of these things are necessarily slams, but they SHOULD NOT BE shorthand for "teacher," especially the pontificator in chief. That they are says much about our profession and how people think of it... the sage on the stage, the professor spouting knowledge like a font.

It is exactly the kind of thing Maria Montessori warned against when she talked about treating children as though they were empty vessels to be filled. That was nearly a century ago. The image - and practice - persists.

Owning Our Narrative

Ultimately, this isn't Google's fault. They wanted to celebrate educators. Rather, the fault is ours as educators. We own it.

But always it is done collaboratively, with the emphasis on the learner’s journey, not the teacher’s knowledge

We have to flip the narrative so that when people think of teaching, they imagine a place dominated by students. The teacher guides, watches, helps, supports. But he does not only or always teach. 

Sometimes, the students teach; sometimes, the teacher learns. But always it is done collaboratively, with the emphasis on the learner's journey, not the teacher's knowledge.

This is the image we want to come to mind when people think of teaching. Teachable moments come in many forms. Google is creating one. Let's take the lesson to heart.

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Making Tantrums a Positive Experience

When your child is having an emotional meltdown, it's hard to keep your cool!

What if your child is crying uncontrollably or is kicking and screaming on the floor? What then?

No matter what, realize that it is your job as the parent to push your own emotions aside as much as possible in order to help your child. But how? It takes practice and a lot of determination.

In this video, I ask you to turn your thinking about tantrums around. Instead of seeing the tantrum as something negative to nip in the bud, look at it from an educational perspective...a positive learning opportunity for both you and your child.

Tips for Success

  1. Be Their Voice. Children do not always know how to communicate their frustrations to you. Your job is to help teach them how.
  2. Be Strategic. There are two times when your child is more likely to be in a receptive state: before the tantrum starts and after the tantrum is over. If at all possible, use those times to your advantage.
  3. Keep Cool. During the tantrum itself, remain compassionate and patient until it's over. If your child likes to be hugged, provide physical comfort. If your child prefers to be left alone, just hang out sympathetically nearby until the tantrum is over.
  4. Keep Firm. If you said no to something your child wanted to do, really mean no and stick to it. Don't give in just because there is a tantrum. Giving in will not solve the problem. Discussing feelings and coming up with solutions and compromises will.
  5. Be Kind to Yourself. You're only human. Every tantrum gives you the chance to grow and change as a parent to meet your own unique child's needs. By putting a positive spin on the situation, you are not only empowering yourself, you are raising a child who will learn how to put life's hurdles into perspective.
The Continent Song

One of my favorite things about teaching the 3 - 6 age group using Montessori philosophy is the heavy focus on cultural studies, including geography.

We want children to understand not only that they live on a planet called Earth but also that humans are just one piece of a complex web of life.

Teaching them the names of the continents will open up their eyes to the entire world they live in. The new awareness will lead to questions about different climates, landforms, animals, and cultures.

Click HERE to watch The Continent Song video on YouTube, or you can just watch below.

Share your love for our planet Earth daily and act very interested in inspecting your map; your child will catch Continent Fever before you know it.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE LESSON PRINTABLE

Organizing Winter Wear: How-To Video

The change of seasons brings lot of extra garb into the hallways!  Kids seem to have a natural affinity for all the puffy and fluffy accessories for keeping them warm.  At the same time, getting out the door and keeping track of all the stuff can feel like a hassle.  

In this video, we'll take a look at some Montessori-inspired tips and tricks to help your kids get out the door independently and successfully.