A while ago I was asked to participate in a #D100bloggerPD and review a few chapters in Ditch That Textbook: Free Your Teaching and Revolutionize Your Classroom by Matt Miller. I have to be totally honest, I only agreed because of tremendous respect I have for Colleen Noffsinger who asked me to participate. Her blog, Literacy Loving Gals, inspires me to be a better educator and a better person.
Once I agreed to participate in #D100bloggerPD I was thrilled to see that the chapters I was to review were: Chapter 10 - Build Respect and Relationships, Chapter 11 – Win and Influence Students, Chapter 12- Choose Task over Tool, Chapter 12 – What Every Tech-Using Educator Must Know and Chapter 14 – Give Students Control. Let’s face facts, every educator could benefit from reading inspiring and supportive chapters like these!
Chapter 10 spoke to me directly as a Language Acquisition Coach. Like the author, I too was given a lot of advice as a new teacher. I did not take the traditional route to education. My route included a degree in Spanish Literature, an MBA in Economics and Public Policy before I finally found my passion in Linguistics. Other well-intentioned educators advised me to educate in ways that did not make sense to me. I knew at my core that in order for a student to learn they had to like school, like coming every day and honestly, they had to like me. As Matt Miller says in Chapter 10, “Why show students you care? Because they need you.” In order for me to be a successful Coach I also need to be a good friend. I need to show our staff that “they can count on me for a smile on a rough day, that I follow up on important issues, I care about them and their well-being and they matter.”
In Chapter 11 I was taken back to my MBA training. During my MBA program, I had to read Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friend and Influence People. I have often referred to his work especially when I was a young director in charge of groups of people. Carnegie’s work applies to education. We have the power as educators to influence our students, our families and our community. We have the opportunity to facilitate each child becoming the best person they can be.
In Chapter 12 and 13 Matt Miller introduces the key to What Every Tech-Using Educator MUST Know, SAMR. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition. SAMR was created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. The model helps educators remember that “Done well, technology integration can transform classes and enhance learning. The right kinds of tech give students experiences they never could have otherwise.”. Today students have access to the world via cultural exchange programs like PenPals. public Blogs and communities like Google. The can publish e-books on Book Creator, use sketchnoting to represent their thoughts and ideas and so much more.
Finally, in Chapter 14: Give Students Control, Matt Miller introduces us to a goal that all educators intrinsically have, the desire to help students see the value in their education beyond the classroom. Incorporating teacher/student collaboration in projects, using Flipped classroom approaches and varied tech allow each student to relate to the long-term investment of their education and future.