frank noschese - TEDxNYED - april 28, 2012
for those of you who know me, you know that one of my passions is in developmentally appropriate education in schools. frank noschese teaches high school physics and chemistry in new york. frank calls his style of teaching - modelling instruction - some really important points to take away from this video are:
1. in frank’s class children create and design their own experiments to find out how the physical world works. in most science classes in high school students would read the lesson, watch a video and then maybe do a lab to confirm that they learned (or memorized) the information the teachers poured into their brains. however, in frank’s class the children start the lesson by creating and executing their own experiment. so, then what happens is, when they sit down to read the book it’s almost like an exploration, trying to find the necessary and relevant information to inform their current experiment.
2. the children actually present their findings in front of the class in the format of a ‘scientific community’ (let’s take a moment and acknowledge that this practice is teaching more than just science, it is teaching public speaking skills, team work and collaboration). by communicating their own results and listening to that of the other children they yet again reinforce their understanding.
3. next, frank mentions that the children do take part in regular textbook problems, however, they are asked to solve the problem through a method he calls - multiple representations. this teaches children that there are multiple different ways to find the right answer and this forms a deeper understanding, informed by all different dimensions of the problem. also, as frank puts it, if they are weak in one kind of representation, they are free to use whichever one they feel most comfortable with.
4. he makes a really important point that he does not engage the children in play without purpose. there is sometimes a misconception when it comes to applied learning that there is no real instruction involved, which is definitely not the case. frank emphasizes that he guides the play, helping the children hypothesize and constantly make observations along the way.
5. something that was so fascinating to me was that the children in his class have become so engulfed in the learning that they are coming to frank with questions from their real life like - ‘can kobe bryant really do that insane jump over the swimming pool?’ or ‘how does angry birds work?’ this to me shows real learning, when you see the things you’ve learned out in the world.
6. lastly, at the end of his speech he makes a plea for people who work in policy and school administration to stop focusing on grades and test scores and start funding these types of initiatives. frank just happens to be lucky that his school supports what he believes in, but for most teachers in the public school system, this is not the case.