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Reading Critique: How People Learn - Chapter 7


This chapter addressed the effectiveness of teaching in three common fields in elementary, middle, and high schools. These fields were History, Mathematics, and Science. It was very explicit and provided examples on how being an effective teacher does not mean that one can teach every field, and that the most successful teachers are actually incredibly resourceful and proficient in their field. Further, their skills are tailored to the specific field in which they teach. They retouched on some examples of History we had seen before, and how it can be a field to learn facts in, or a field where you study and interpret certain events in order to deduce what actually occurred in history. The example of Bob Bain struck home quite quickly in the sense that I was really disappointed in my experiences in History throughout school. I had never experienced a professor like him or Ms. Kelsey, whose strategies seem to actually engage these students in a historical adventure which I now seem to yearn.  Some of the issues I found with the chapter were that it did not provide a figure which I was imagining in my mind. I really desired a graph that would illustrate the skills needed to be a math, history, and science teacher, and what skills could be extrapolated to be your cookie-cutter teacher model. Something that I felt the chapter did not elaborate on was the concept and effectiveness of ‘team teaching’. I had previously read a few articles that highlight some of the benefits of groups of teachers who work in collaboration to help their students learn more. I found one example that combined a biology course and a business course in college to develop a “community composting food waste network” (Little & Hoel, 2011). This related a lot to a course I had taken here at Georgia Tech (a special topics course on ICT4D with Professor Michael Best) which combined a variety of different majors to collaborate and work on projects. The efforts of Professor Best to bring different students together truly changed my way of thinking, not to mention the excitement I had to get involved in different volunteer projects to help developing nations. I bring this all back to the methods of teaching and learning that I have been involved in. As much as a professor needs to be incredibly proficient in his/her field, I firmly believe that the collaboration of fields also has an incredible potential to bring topics to sensible applications and not abstract representations, which allow students to further understand and make connections they would have not reached previously.

Works Cited

Little, A., & Hoel, A. (2011). Interdisciplinary Team Teaching: An Effective Method to Transform Student Attitudes. The Journal of Effective Teaching, XI(1), 36-44.

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