“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”
As I begin to sit down to write my first ever blog post, I find that I am frustrated teacher. I find that as I struggle to make my class the most meaningful experience I can make it, there are still many students that are not engaged. They would rather play a game on their calculator or do homework for another class than be an active member of my class. Although I think some of that behavior speaks about them, I feel it also speaks about my class.
I have been using the CPO Curriculum for the last 5 years, and have come to the conclusion that I love the hands on style of teaching, but I need to find a better means to make that happen. At this point, I find myself very interested in Modeling Instruction, and over the last few weeks find myself inspired by Frank Noschese, Dan Meyer,and Paul Lockhart. I’m sure that list of people will continue to grow as I continue to dive into the Web 2.0 world. One thing that stands out to me about these three is that they go to great efforts to create a “hook” that gets their students to want to know more. By selecting the proper “hook,” they can have their students realize for themselves how nature works. I think that may be part of what is missing in my class. The CPO curriculum provides everything for the students. They get so caught up in the procedure provided to them, that they miss the actual physics happening in front of them. They do not need to think for themselves, so perhaps they, in the end, just see this as a different form of busywork.
As I begin to try to create my own footprint in the digital world, I don’t just want to parrot what I find interesting, but maybe, try to bring something new to the table. That is, to synthesize what I find others have done with my own experiences in the classroom. My hope is maybe there are some other teachers out there that are beginning to think the same way as me. Perhaps you’re ahead of me, maybe you’re behind, but as I begin to tell of my journeys into a better classroom experience, I’d love to read your thoughts as well.
With all of that in mind, I’m not sure a hook is truly what is necessary. So if I may, I’d like to possibly change the description of that beginning of class prompt, for if all we are using is a “hook,” then all we as teachers can try to do is pull our students to the water. I know I haven’t begun using Modeling in my classroom yet, but is that all our students need to be inspired to become active members of a physics class? Maybe we shouldn’t be thinking of something that will pull our students along, but rather something that will make them want to be an active learner:
“You can’t force a horse to drink the water,
but you can salt the oats.”