But the post became popular on his blog and he decided to write a followup piece revealing that the author was his daughter, Alexis Wiggins, a 15-year teaching veteran now working in a private American International School overseas.
Wiggins noted in his follow-up that his daughter’s experiences mirrored his own and aligned well with the the responses on surveys that his organization gives to students. I waited 14 years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day.
If I could go back and change my classes now, I would immediately: I lost count of how many times we were told be quiet and pay attention.
It’s normal to do so – teachers have a set amount of time and we need to use it wisely.
Her report is in following post, which appeared on the blog of Grant Wiggins, the co-author of “Understanding by Design” and the author of “Educative Assessment” and numerous articles on education.
A high school teacher for 14 years, he is now the president of Authentic Education, in Hopewell, New Jersey, which provides professional development and other services to schools aimed at improving student learning.It was not just the sitting that was draining but that so much of the day was spent absorbing information but not often grappling with it.I asked my tenth-grade host, Cindy, if she felt like she made important contributions to class or if, when she was absent, the class missed out on the benefit of her knowledge or contributions, and she laughed and said no.In eight periods of high school classes, my host students rarely spoke.Sometimes it was because the teacher was lecturing; sometimes it was because another student was presenting; sometimes it was because another student was called to the board to solve a difficult equation; and sometimes it was because the period was spent taking a test.It was so eye-opening that I wish I could go back to every class of students I ever had right now and change a minimum of ten things – the layout, the lesson plan, the checks for understanding. This is the first year I am working in a school but not teaching my own classes; I am the High School Learning Coach, a new position for the school this year.My job is to work with teachers and administrators to improve student learning outcomes.So, I don’t mean to imply critically that only the teachers droned on while students just sat and took notes.But still, hand in hand with takeaway #1 is this idea that most of the students’ day was spent passively absorbing information.I would become near apoplectic last year whenever a very challenging class of mine would take a test, and without fail, several students in a row would ask the same question about the test.Each time I would stop the class and address it so everyone could hear it.