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Friday, August 22, 2008

Common Sense AND Education

It bothered me growing up when people told me I was "so smart that I didn't have any common sense."  And yet, common sense does take time to understand, especially in the classroom.

If a person has been successful in the classroom, they develop the sixth sense about teaching and students.  It is simply irreplaceable.

My husband has worked the sound in our church for over ten years.  He says it is so tough because, "everybody has ears and everybody hears just a little bit differently."  This is so true in the classroom as well.  Most of us who care about education have spent time in the classroom and our experiences have shaped us.

For me, it is being bullied, picked last, and also working hard in the classroom because that was where I excelled.  For others, it is something different.

And yet, a BIG mistake poor teachers and well-meaning educational advisors make is thinking that we are teaching clones of themselves.  The cardinal sin of marketing is to advertise to yourself.  Likewise, the cardinal sin of teaching is to teach to yourself.  We must understand the broad spectrum of student and also that things are different than they were 10 years a go.

Common sense in teaching comes from being in the classroom.  We need to work to give more people that experience and those in decision making positions need to intentionally spend time there.  There is nothing more humbling than to have a teenager roll their eyes and tune out on the masterful lesson that we planned in solitude.

I think everyone who writes a lesson plan for others to teach should have to teach it themselves.  If we want to look at problems in education, often it is as far as an absence of TEACHING sense. 

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