Thursday, October 27, 2011

Week Nine: Use Your Resources!

This week I found an unexpected source of inspiration...my dad. He isn't usually the first person I go to when I have an educational question (if it's one of my parents it's usually my mom because she's a professor), but I was stuck. I was trying to write two lesson plans, one for class on Friday and one a formal lesson in my World Studies class, and I had no idea what kind of activities I wanted to do. I was talking to him on the phone about my lesson on group work and remember saying something along the lines of: "So far all I know is that I need to USE group work in my lesson ON group work...but that seems fairly obvious." As a businessman and project manager, I don't see why I didn't think to ask him...he WOULD know about effective and ineffective teams, wouldn't he? After years of experience and countless professional conferences on effective management he definitely had a thing or two to say! What did I learn from this? USE YOUR RESOURCES! Sometimes what you really need is right in front of you.

I'm still struggling to come up with ideas for my lesson on unions and the rise of socialism/communism for my World Studies class. I firmly believe that the less time I spend in front of the class and the more they can teach themselves through activities and guided discussion, the better they will learn and the more they will be able to engage in text-to-self reflection. Unfortunately, my lesson is a transitory lesson that is strongly knowledge-based...but I don't want it to be. This is my chance to pique student interest for the rest of the upcoming union (in which they will be looking at the development of unions, socialism, and communism throughout the world). How do I engage students when my lesson is essentially a summary of British Industrialism and an introduction to new concepts/definitions/people? I can't expect them to be interested or engaged when I'M not interested or engaged!