Malleable Misconceptions

Article by Chad Huelsman

Everyday our students enter our classrooms with preconceived notions about knowledge and their abilities. It is imperative that we, as educational influencers, identify these preconceptions and take the proper measures to support students in advancing their learning. David Ausubel (1963), an American psychologist known for research work on “meaningful learning,” stated “the most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach him accordingly.” Even though Ausubel’s insights into teaching and learning are critical to advance new knowledge, Audrey Sewell (2002) posits that our students’ prior knowledge can either be a “bridge” or “barrier” to new learning for them, especially when it comes to addressing student misconceptions.
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Noisy Classrooms and Student Discourse

Article by Kathleen Jones

Noise and lots of it. A cacophony of young voices speaking at once. It is a room full of 2nd grade math students; students who are oblivious to my presence and engaged in conversations with their peers. What, though, is all the chatter about? Recess? Video games? Gossip? Not even close. These students, sitting in groups of 2 and 3, are sharing their ideas about whether the sum of two odd numbers always produces an even or odd number. This topic, it turns out, was posed as a question by one of the students in the class. The teacher, in turn, instructed the class to discuss this in small groups. While viewed as an amazing environment to some, others might wonder what the big deal is all about. Moreover, why take up valuable time having students, especially this young, talk about math? Why not simply reveal the solution to them and move on? Why? Students’ creativity and inquisitiveness must be recognized and valued as a necessary tool for learning. We must foster nurturing classroom environments that are rich in collegiality and student discourse.
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Classroom Routines

Article by Kathleen Jones

Imagine a classroom environment that has clearly established routines. What words come to mind? Peaceful? Safe? Fun? Productive? Now, imagine a classroom environment that has little to no evidence of classroom routines. What words come to mind? Chaotic? Unsafe? Stressful? Dysfunctional? Without routines and structure, opportunities for students to learn are minimized.
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Understanding Education Legislation

Article by Chris Anderson

The world of education and the legislation that shapes what teachers do in the classroom is rapidly changing. In 2016 alone, for example, over 1,200 separate bills were made into law in Ohio, addressing a wide range of issues from student attendance to teacher recruitment. The language of these laws is complicated and few educators have the time to unpack how these changes will impact their classroom or their building. However, staying updated on current policy is essential to run successful schools and students.
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Staff Culture’s Impact on Student Culture

Article by Katie Currens

One thing I’ve learned with my own kids is that children watch and listen to everything. Literally everything. Those moments when you are joking about buying an island and running a banana stand will soon turn into questions from the teacher or their friends because “I heard you’re moving!” We know how observant kids are and we learn this during our educational courses. Yet sometimes we forget that they are also observing our interactions with our colleagues and make assumptions based on what they see.
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