Posts Tagged ‘Teach’

The Most Commonly Asked Questions Sex-Ed Students Ask

January 17, 2020

 

Whilst I think Sex-Ed should be primarily the responsibility of parents, I can appreciate the reason why schools feel a responsibility to educate students about safe sex and relieve some of their students’ concerns.

If I were teaching Sex-Ed, I would begin by going over some of the most popular questions asked by children to reassure students that their questions are neither unique nor childish or ignorant.

The following fascinating article addresses some of these questions:

Regardless of whether they grew up in the ’80s or the aughts, kids of certain ages always ask versions of the same questions, Roffman has found. For instance, middle-school students, she said, want to know if their bodies and behaviours are “normal.” Many older students ask her at what age it’s normal to start masturbating.

High schoolers routinely ask about romantic communication, relationships, and the right time for intimacy: “Who makes the first move?” “How do you know if you or the other person is ready for the ‘next level’?” “How can you let someone down easy when you want to break up?”  

But some contemporary questions, Roffman said, are very different from those she heard earlier in her career. Sometimes the questions change when the news does. (More than 30 years ago, Roffman started reading two newspapers a day to keep up with the rapid pace of news about HIV and AIDS; she’s maintained the habit since.)

She said she received a flood of questions about sexual harassment after the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in the early 1990s. The same decade ended with a spike in student interest in oral sex and behaviors that had previously been considered more taboo, such as anal sex.

Sometimes changing student questions signal broader cultural shifts, like the recent surge in student queries about gender identities. “There would have been questions 20 years ago about sexual orientation, but not about gender diversity,” Roffman said. But one recent eighth-grade cohort submitted questions like “How many genders are there?” “What does ‘gender roles’ mean?” “What is the plus sign for in LGBTQIA+?” and “Why is ‘gay’ called ‘gay’?” She finds a way to answer them all.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

5 Ways to Change the Face of Education

November 26, 2014

game changer

Courtesy of the brilliant Mark Barnes:

 

1-Stop worrying about losing your job

For tenured teachers, this isn’t much of a problem, although there is a growing movement against tenure. Whether you have tenure or not, if you want to be a game changer, you must stop thinking about losing your job. I’ve never heard of a teacher being fired for doing what’s best for kids. Susan B. Anthony risked her life to vote. The least teachers can do is risk temporary unemployment to change children’s lives.

2-Break free from the norm

When the world hears you saying over and over again that you are going to do what is best for children, your voice becomes remarkably powerful.

Steve Jobs never said, “We have to do what everyone else is doing.” Jobs believed in being first, in creating what others couldn’t see. When people said something couldn’t be done, it was usually because no one else was doing it. Jobs saw what established techies didn’t see, and he created it. When people say, “We can’t do that,” jump to a new fishbowl. Those who aspire to greatness will follow.

3-Start all thoughts with “What if. . .”

Hundreds of years ago when teachers were writing directions and examples on individual student slates, James Pillans wondered, What if we built one large slate board, big enough for all students in the room to see? The blackboard was born and classroom instruction worldwide changed. What if you stopped assigning traditional homework? What if you used mobile devices in class? What if you never grade another activity, project or test? Would you be a game changer? Would your students change?

4-Say “No!”

Teachers constantly tell me that their principal says they have to give weekly tests or they have to assign nightly homework or they have to log a grade into an online grade book. How should this be handled, they ask. Simple. Say No! Tell education stakeholders that you intend to do what is in the best interest of every student in your classroom. If they push back, stand your ground. Be persistent and be loud. When the world hears you saying over and over again that you are going to do what is best for children, your voice becomes remarkably powerful. You become a game changer.

5-Never stop fighting

It’s possible that you won’t live to see victory. Susan B. Anthony died decades before women won the right to vote. Without her, though, woman might still be relegated to ankle-length dresses and a life in the kitchen. Someone recently said that a no grades classroom is unrealistic; when I brought up the suffragettes, he said, “look how long that took.” Game changers never think about winning the battle; they fight until it’s won or until they die, knowing someone else will carry the torch when they’re gone.

 

Click on the link to read Some Teachers Never Change … Literally!

Click on the link to read The Ultimate Bad Teaching Checklist

Click here to read my opinion of ‘child centered learning’ vs ‘teacher centered learning’.

Click here to read my opinion on the problem with IT in the classroom.

Click here to read my opinion on the standard of teacher training.

One of the Most Overrated Skills in the Classroom

March 28, 2012

Whilst I can obviously see the value of teaching spelling skills, I don’t think it is anywhere near as important as schools make out.

The emphasis that spelling gets when it comes to teaching allotments, testing and reporting is astounding. Surely there are more vital skills such as maths, writing and reading that can profit from taking some of the ‘treasured’ spelling time.

Many skills now have specialised spelling programs complete with up to 5 weekly periods per class from the Second Grade upwards. Talk about overkill! My daughter recently brought home a form requesting our written consent to take her out of her classes in order to strengthen her spelling skills. What makes this request even more bizarre is that she is only in the first grade! I can understand taking her out for maths or English, but spelling?

What upsets me most about the obsession with children and spelling is what it does to our students. Our children know whether they are good spellers or not. They have been tested countless times and their work is often given a ‘dose of red’ where every misspelled word corrected. What then tends to happen, is that students become self-conscious about their spelling capabilities and try to avoid the dreaded red ink corrections. Instead of using the most appropriate word for their written work, they choose words they know how to spell. This has a severe negative impact on the quality of their writing.

I am a big fan of minimising the emphasis of spelling. I want my students to write freely, to choose words that best fits their work and have a fearless approach to spelling difficult words. To me, a free and unhampered piece of writing replete with spelling errors far outweighs a dreary, disjointed piece of work with correct spelling.

I’m not against the teaching of spelling and I certainly believe that spelling rules and the understanding of morphographs have a place in the classroom. I just don’t think these skills are anywhere near as important as many would have you believe.


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