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Starting Closest To Home: The Importance Of Developing Teachers’ Understanding Of The Social Contexts Of Their Classrooms

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John- Great piece. Teachers can't just focus on the passing knowledge to students anymore. Knowledge is free for all to have via the internet. Teachers need to bestow how to use knowledge and apply it to gain the results needed to meet desired goals. Teachers have to model this by utilizing networks of teachers to grow together. Education needs to be more collaborative. Teachers need time in their schedules to work together, examine students' needs and derive paths to success. Our current model is to isolating, leaving most teachers alone desperately seeking answers.

Todd--Thanks for giving it a read. And I agree that it would be nice to think about how to use the Internet and both virtual and face-to-face networks can help teachers generate and sustain new ideas. I also agree that finding time to meet is important but it has always been a real challenge to arrange, but a challenge that we must continue to chip away at.

Great read John. Most veteran teachers, like myself, dread professional development. The ideas behind the endless trainings are usually good, but tend lack any understanding of what it's like to work in a high-diversity, low-socioeconomic classroom. I would welcome more training that focused on student relationships and how to hopefully milk them for as much engagement as possible.

Brandon--No doubt that most professional development is a grind for many teachers, especially those who have been through years of one-shot trainings that are abstracted from practice and more or less ignore the worlds that teachers actually teach in. I also remember getting some trainings on student relationships or positive reinforcement behavior modification, but these trainings presented the social dynamics of classrooms rather simply or adopted a stimulus-response orientation to working with more challenging students. I would like to see teachers get the opportunity to engage with some of the research on the sociology of classrooms and then have the opportunity to have open and prolonged conversations with peers and administrators where they can reflect on the demands of the reform, their current practices, and the social complexities and challenges of their classrooms.

Amazing article. It is important for the teachers to develop the social contexts in classrooms. As students are learning many things from technologies it is essential for teachers to learn new facts day by day and update themselves. So that we can interact with the students easily and make the interaction a meaningful one. This will motivate the students to learn more. Merryl Edubilla - Education portal.

Thanks for posting a comment, Merryl. And I couldn't agree more that student-teacher interactions can improve if teachers are afforded the opportunity to know more about social phenomena and that an improved student experience can result and that as a consequence student would become more motivated and interested in school.

I agree. Teachers should not be contained to teaching inside the classroom. There is so much of the world to see, know about and use for learning. Like the internet. Although too much screentime is not advisable for learning, I think doing it in moderation is very beneficial. I learned about one activity from one of my homeworks from http://preply.com/en . Aside from using Skype to talk to other students from other parts of the globe, they also perform duties as home teachers . They incorporate online activities with supervision for learning. My son took the same classes and I found that he was more engaged in his studies when his teachers showed mre interest in him and used unconventional methods. Children nowadays are different.

I believe this is a good teaching concept. The classroom represents the cross-section of our society, therefore teaching should be in its social context.

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