Dr. Miah Profile picture
7 Sep, 20 tweets, 3 min read
This morning I saw a post (I’m not going to retweet it or tag the teacher because teacher finger pointing isn’t the point) that offered a seemingly helpful instructional practice/strategy
On first glance, I thought “that’s a cool idea,” but after a few seconds I thought “wait—this suggestion prioritizes the STRATEGY—the act— over the LEARNING.
I think we’ve all done it, at least I know I have.

Learn a new fun strategy, implement fun tomorrow!

Learn a time saving strategy,save time tomorrow!

Learn an organizing strategy (e.g., student binders), organize tomorrow!
Later in my classroom career the pieces finally clicked together. I no longer saw strategies; I saw how strategies worked to advance or deepen learning.
What do I mean?

Consider turn and talk. When I first started teaching, I learned that T&T was a way to increase engagement. Cool. Who doesn’t want more engagement.

T&T became the salt of my classroom and I used it LIBERALLY. 😂😂😂
What answer did you choose for #5? TURN AND TALK TO YOUR NEIGHBOR!

What’s the metaphor of Hotel California and what does it mean and what lines illustrate it? TURN AND TALK TO YOUR NEIGHBOR!

Before you start brainstorming, what’s the thesis of your paper? TURN AND TALK!
Each of these is an example of how the strategy becomes the focus, bit the learning. In essence, prioritizing the strategy becomes more important, and the actual learning may be lessened or weakened.
In the first one, simply telling the answer one chose doesn’t deepen or advance learning, though students engaged by turning and talking.
What’s better?

Look at your answer to #5. Why did you choose that answer? What did you think about? What other answers did you think about and discard? What in the text helped you come up with your answer? Jot notes in the margin that explain your thinking for #5…
Now that you’ve gathered your thoughts, turn and talk to a neighbor about your thought process for #5. Discuss your answer and how you chose it.
2. Hotel California had a lot of metaphors. Having students play darts at the text to find one and analyze it and explain it AND share with a neighbor prioritizes the strategy over the thinking. The strategy becomes more important than the thinking through the text
Instead,

Turn and talk to a neighbor about what you understand about HC. What do you think the author is talking about?

Some think the song is an extended metaphor. What do you think the song could be a metaphor for?
You and your neighbor may disagree, and that’s ok. There are likely many answers. But you must connect your responses to the song lyrics.

Now, talk about your initial thoughts. Remember to connect them back to the text.
The third one is a bit more deceptive. It seems really ok—Ss talk before writing. And, it might be. I think it can be done better, though.
Sometimes having time to talk before writing “unsticks” the writer. But, I would argue that talking about ones thesis before doing any independent thinking is a jump too high
Instead…

What is the main point you want to make in your writing? What is the one thing you want your reader to understand or know? Why? (This would become a thesis; it is not one yet. This is an idea)

If you have multiple points, write them all down.
Now, think about why that pt is important or critical for the reader. Why do you want the reader to understand that pt?

Turn & talk to your neighbor; explain your main pt. Ask, do you find this point interesting? Would you be interested in reading about that if I wrote about it?
Giving some time to gather high level thoughts and discuss (not just share) them for the sake of writing a thesis statement later>figure out your thesis at jump and talk about an idea you have not yet had time to develop
Strategies are important to learning, no argument there. But the point of strategies is to advance the learning, not to practice the strategy itself.

The pedagogy is in service to the content.
How do you use strategies to advance learning? Can you think of any times you used strategies to practice the strategy—without deepening learning? Or am I the only one? 😂😂😂

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