Monday, May 15, 2017

Fidget Spinners and other Fidget Gadgets in the Classroom

Erin Silver of the Washington Post has written a good article on the subject of fidget gadgets in the classroom.
In my experience, especially working one-on-one with students, fidget gadgets are a distraction. Instead, I work with students to help develop the skill of keeping focused for a period of time. When the student starts to have difficulty keeping focused, even when they are trying, it is time to take a small break where they can fidget, look at their phone, stare out the window, do jumping jacks or walk around the room.

Another strategy that works for me is to change what the student is working on... If we have been working on Algebra, switch to Art.

Are fidget toys too much of a distraction? - Erin Silver, Washington Post

Sunday, May 14, 2017

U Can’t Talk to Ur Professor Like This

I agree with many of the points in the article, especially this quote: “More and more, students view the process of going to college as a business transaction,” Dr. Tomforde, the math professor, told me. “They see themselves as a customer, and they view knowledge as a physical thing where they pay money and I hand them the knowledge — so if they don’t do well on a test, they think I haven’t kept up my side of the business agreement.” He added, “They view professors in a way similar to the person behind the counter getting their coffee.”
So true. I once had the experience of a cheeky (and slightly delusional) 10th grader, verbally accost me in the hallway, claiming that I didn't understand the structure of the academic environment. He scolded me for not understanding that the structure of the high school academic environment was like a corporation and that I was essentially ignoring the stock holders (when his grade began to slip).
As a high school teacher, I invite and insist, my students to call me by my first name after graduation. However, students in college are usually adults. If the professor wants to be addressed as Dr. Worthen, then I do hope that she when she insists on formality, that she also has the mutual respect for her students by addressing them as Mr. Garcia and Ms. Wong. If my doctor would like to be addressed as Dr. Dubois, then he or she might not want to expect to call me Karen. Otherwise, expecting such, is just a way to establish artificial lines of status.

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