Judy (Educator) asks:
What key tips/advice would you share for new teachers to keep in mind?
Dr. Marion Blank answers:
Whether they are familiar with the term or not, new teachers are well-versed in the psychology of edutainment; that is, the idea that the content of any teaching should be designed not simply to educate but to entertain as well. In many ways, this is a welcome development. If children can enjoy what they are learning, the whole experience is enhanced. However, the concept of edutainment has now become so pervasive that we are losing sight of some key processes and skills needed for effective learning. For example, many parents now explicitly or implicitly believe that children have a right to be entertained and a right to opt out when they are not entertained. So when children express dissatisfaction with an educational activity, parents are all too willing to allow the child to abandon it.
But for real mastery, any significant activity requires sustained effort (whether it’s learning a sport, a musical instrument, or how to read, etc.). Basically there must be a level of diligence and practice that is unlikely to be appealing all the time. This can raise significant challenges for new teachers. They themselves may not be familiar nor comfortable with requiring diligence and with knowing how to achieve it. One of the best things new teachers can do is to create a peer network where they meet regularly with other teachers and work out strategies they can use in the classroom to foster the diligence that effective learning requires. The sharing of ideas with peers is invaluable. It sets up a support network that greatly eases the path for new teachers and it allows them to steadily build a body of techniques and methods that fit their student population.
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