Teaching at a school like Francis Parker Charter Essential School would be an extremely enticing opportunity to me because of their ten common principles, almost all of which align with my personal educational ideology. I believe strongly in the importance of their first principle: “learning to use one’s mind well,” both for students and teachers, and the concept of “student as worker, teacher as coach.”.
FPCES’s focus on humanities as a subject area greatly appeals to me, in an era where most schools do not emphasize the humanities enough. The team teaching model they employ, their focus on diversity/equity, and their clearly defined performance standards also make it sound like a unique and interesting site to work at.
I probably would not want to work at High Tech High because of their STEM focus. As a social science teacher, I would not feel valuable to the school or the students they are serving, most of whom are likely considering STEM careers and not entirely interested in history.
Chapter 5: Motivating Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Workers
Motivating students is important to their learning, and one of the biggest challenges that educators face. Students will not learn anything if they are not motivating to complete the tasks that are designed for their learning, but the question of how to motivate them if complex and unique to each individual.
I don’t think it’s right to assign the blame for students’ poor work ethic entirely on teachers. Parents play just as large, if not larger, a role in the development of these behaviors. That said, the challenge in building a classroom and curriculum that gets students more motivated to engage in the learning process needs to be taken seriously.
The Poldrack study which Wagner mentions details how multi-tasking can be harmful to knowledge acquisition. The stress of multi-tasking can cause students to not be able to focus on learning; they may end up completing several tasks and but gain nothing from doing so.
I disagree with Wagner spending time mentioning violent video games. It’s really not a serious issue for education.
The key takeaway from this chapter is Wagner’s statement: “The overwhelming majority of students want learning to be active, not passive” (199). Students will be more motivated to learn when they can be proud of what they produce and not just the letter grade that they receive for it.
It takes Wagner long enough, but he finally does connect it to the achievement gap that is the subject of his text. Juan’s story in particular stands out as showing the flaws of the education system. It’s focused on preparing kids for college but some kids just aren’t college material and fall through the system. They would benefit from more vocational training and expanded learning which can open them up to careers which don’t require advanced academic study.