In my experience, one hour is about the limit for the period of time I can spend consecutively sitting in an unengaging environment; that limit is tested for me just about every Monday, so I certainly sympathize with the students whom the author observed being required to sit for an extended period of time.
The author's description of passive listening is a hallmark of the “old” teaching style that is centered around lectures and teacher demonstrations, rather than student activity. I have not seen this teaching style in use much at my clinical practice site. My cooperating teacher uses a system where students are given their task list at the beginning of the week and have the duration of the week to complete it. They are able to freely work and collaborate, and there is only 15 to 20 minutes of lecture during the week. There is still a place for lecturing in the classroom, though I do want to de-emphasize it. However, once these kids get to college, what are they going to experience? Massive lecture halls where they sit and listen to a professor (or assistant professor) lecture for an entire class.
I have observed some situations similar to the third point made in the article, particularly the use of sarcasm in the classroom. Several teachers that I have seen, both this semester and in the fall, like the classroom environment to be more relaxed and not quite as rigid with taskmaster-like rules enforcement. These teachers do use sarcasm as ways to remind students that even though the environment is relaxed, the teacher is still in charge and knows things that the students do not. This is not my personal style, but I’m not sure that it is entirely as destructive as the author believes it is.
One thing mentioned several times in the account is the importance of allowing students to ask questions about previous lessons or concepts they do not understand. I don’t believe that this practice would be entirely helpful in most classroom settings. In an AP or IB setting, perhaps this will work, as the students there are pushing for college credit and have that drive to figure things out. In the college prep classrooms I have been in, most students are not willing to ask questions. When a teacher (including myself) asks the class if they have any questions about the content that was being covered, there will be zero questions asked. Do they understand everything? Their submitted work says no.
Wiggins, G. (2014, October 10). A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days - a sobering lesson learned. Retrieved February 20, 2015, from https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/a-veteran-teacher-turned-coach-shadows-2-students-for-2-days-a-sobering-lesson-learned/