Saturday, September 26, 2009

“What Really Matters in Teaching? (The Students).”

Annotation by Kristen Bechtel

Tomlinson, Carol Ann, & McTighe, Jay (2006). Integrating differentiated instruction & understanding by design. Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

This summary refers to the chapter titled “What Really Matters in Teaching? (The Students).” In this chapter, the authors, Tomlinson and McTighe, discuss the idea that students, not curriculum are the focus of our work as teachers. Then, through a series of student case studies, the authors assert their main point, the importance of responsive teaching. A responsive “teacher is as attuned to students’ varied learning needs as the requirements of a thoughtful and well-articulated curriculum.” Finally, the authors conclude the chapter by highlighting why responsive teaching matters and by outlining some basic approaches to responsive teaching.

The strength of this chapter lies in the well-made point that our students are essentially our curriculum. With the increased responsibilities that teachers are assuming in this high-stakes testing and accountablity era, often times we become more focused on what we teach, rather than who we teach.

Relevant Quotes/Concepts

-“Each year, teachers enter their classrooms with a sense of direction provided by some combination of personal knowledge of subject matter, content standards, and teaching materials. As teachers become more experienced, they develop a refined sense of how the journey ahead will unfold in terms of time, benchmarks for progress, and particular routes of travel, fully mindful of the needs and interests of learners. Each year, students reinforce for those teachers that the journey is a shared endeavor and that the best-laid plans of the best teachers are just that—plans, subject to change.”

-“Elise, Yana, Jason and Noah are much like all other students. They came to school not so much seeking mastery of geometry and proficiency in paragraph writing as seeking themselves. That is, like all humans, they are looking for a sense of their own meanings, roles, and possibilities. They come wanting to make sense of the world around them and their place in that world.”

-“(Students) come to the classroom first looking for things like affirmation, affiliation, accomplishment and autonomy (Tomlinson 2003). They are looking for adults who accept them, value them, guide them, and represent them for what it means to be a competent and caring adult. Quality curriculum should play a central role in meeting the core needs for affirmation, affiliation, accomplishment and autonomy, but it is the teachers’ job to make the link between the basic human needs of students and curriculum.”

Future Sources

Tomlinson, C. (1999) The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Tomlinson, C. (2001) How to differentiate instruction in mixed ability classrooms (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Tomlinson, C. (2003) Fulfilling the promise of the differentiated classroom: Strategies and tools for responsive teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

1 comment:

Kristen Bechtel said...

YAY! I'm not obsolete yet. I did it. I posted to a "BLOG"... Oh no, does that mean I am a blogger?

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