In the age of instant gratification, schools continue to defy the odds. Real-time payments, video-on-demand, a need for something…NOW. I described teaching to someone the other day as “playing the long game in an instantaneous landscape”. Where students are craving the next fad, teachers are meticulously and carefully crafting a logical succession of steps to teach their students the concept at hand. Unfortunately, (from the student’s point of view), while Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is the teaching of direct proportion, geometric proofs or covalent bonding.
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I am not much of a gardener. At times, I have delusions of grandeur and over-purchase plants I can’t pronounce at some trendy nursery which serves coffee and breakfast. I buy the best soil (because it comes in the smallest bags and is easy to lift). I nod haplessly, as the checkout operator gives me instructions about the care of the plants.
With the competitiveness and ever-changing nature of today’s workforce, employers are often looking for skills that go beyond qualifications and experience. Employability skills or ‘soft-skills’ are the underpinning blocks of career building. They are generic and transferable skills that employers want a future employee to possess no matter what position they are applying for. However, these skills can also be developed to prepare young people for future learning and as well as being important for life.
‘If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.’ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Arguably, the rule of expectations uses hope to influence reality and create results. As human beings, we tend to make decisions based on how others expect us to perform. Expectations have a powerful impact from those we trust and respect, while an even greater impact is measured from those whom don’t know us as well. When we know someone expects something from us, we will aspire to please him or her to gain respect and be liked.
In teaching of mathematics, it has been established that students best learn when a concept is introduced to them with concrete materials. This understanding is then placed in context with a modelled explanation, such as with a picture or a diagram. Once these two representations of the concept have been introduced, it is possible for the abstract nature of the concept to be taught and a clear understanding can develop.