Thoughts from a reflective educator.
I read an interesting article recently about over-parenting, where children are made helpless because of too much support from their parents (and teachers). After I read the article, I remember this story from many years ago, shared by a colleague of mine.
"We had a kid whose mom used to dress him all the time, even though he was in sixth grade. She also used to feed him, and as a result, he didn't know how to use a fork and spoon himself, which was a bit problematic at camp. Fortunately, he figured it out fairly quickly because there was no way we were going to literally spoon-feed him."
"One day, we were playing a relay race where one person would put on a shirt, run to the other side of the field, and pass the shirt to the next member of the team, who would put it on, and then ran back, and so on. When this kid's turn came up, he ran to the other end of the field and raised his arms up, waiting for his teammate to put on the shirt for him."
This raises an important question for me; in what ways do we as teachers over-coach our students?
I have implemented some changes in my grade 12 math class in an effort to help build independence in my students, and the students at first feel a bit weird about these small changes, but then they adjust to them, and over time, they appear to become more independent.
David is a mathematics teacher and a learning specialist for technology at Stratford Hall in Vancouver, BC. He has been teaching since 2002, and has worked in Brooklyn, London, and Bangkok before moving back to Canada. He has his Masters degree in Educational Technology from UBC, and is the co-author of a mathematics textbook. He has been published in ISTE's Leading and Learning, Educational Technology Solutions, The Software Developers Journal, The Bangkok Post and Edutopia. He blogs with the Cooperative Catalyst, and is the Assessment group facilitator for Edutopia. He has also helped organize the first Edcamp in Canada, and TEDxKIDS@BC.