David McAdams' Learnings, First Semester 2006

In no particular order ...
  • It is better and easier to start with tighter discipline then loosen up than start with looser discipline, then tighten up.
  • Using student names is essential to the social processes of the classroom.
  • While sophomores like to be cooperative, their ability to build stable social structures (meaning a well run classroom) is limited.
  • Students don't always know what they want.
  • Once a student has given up, it is difficult to get them to reengage.
  • Lockstep (every student doing the same thing at the same time) is the single greatest drag on the education of our youth.
  • Grades are best used as an incentive, not as a description of student learnings.
  • Students really want to have clear direction as to expectations and due dates.
  • Students will initially resist pedagogical techniques that they are not familiar with, but will adopt them when they see that they work.
  • All students want to succeed. However, their concepts of what constitutes success may vary greatly from the teacher's concept.
  • Many students see fooling the teacher as a way to test their social strength against a standard.
  • Informing the student that help is available after school rarely results in the student coming in.

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