"Good learning has to do with atmospheres of hope rather than fear;
feelings of adventure rather than sameness; and newness rather than custom."
2. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back
Where do you see confusion today? Can you teach with confusion, through
confusion, to confusion? When learning something new, where would be a
better place to begin, with confusion or with knowing? Does your teaching
reflect your answer to that question?
U.S. teachers spend much more time reviewing previously taught material
than teachers of almost any other nation. On average, fully 53 percent
lesson time in the U.S. consists of review. By contrast, teachers in Japan,
the highest test-scoring country in the world, spend only 24 percent of
lesson time on review.
----U.S. Department of Education
Teachers and administrators in one Pennsylvania school are increasing
number of positive responses they give to students and to one another.
Motivated by research that shows teachers across the country verbally
comment at a ratio of three negatives to one positive, this staff has
instituted TONE Week. TONE, an acronym for "Turn On Nice Expressions,"
an effort by the staff to speak in ways that communicate respect for
students and increase the number of positive comments to which they are
exposed. Naturally, the positive comments are to be delivered with a
(Teachers and administrators wishing to improve their verbal interaction
with students are encouraged to order our book "Teacher Talk: What
Really Means." "Teacher Talk" is available from Personal
Power Press for
$13.00. Call (toll-free) 877-360-1477. Purchase orders accepted.)
Occasionally at one of my workshops I will overhear colleagues having
by putting one another down. Around the registration table and over coffee,
they will jab at each other with remarks like:
"I see you got here all right. Did your mother wake you up?"
"Look out, klutz, or you'll spill the coffee."
"Hey, can't you even spell your name right?"
This fun-poking way to begin the morning seems friendly enough at first
glance. Behind this "affectionate" name calling, however, is
situation that is harmful to both the joker and the brunt of the joke.
Put-downs of any nature are destructive. There is no such thing as
affectionate name-calling. What is said in supposed jest is simply a poorly
veiled attempt to put another person down. Each statement contains a bit
truth recognized by both the sender and the receiver
Eliminate put-downs from your Teacher Talk, with colleagues as well as
(If you liked the above idea, you will love Chick Moorman's "Talk
Yourself: The Language of Personal Power." The book is available
through Personal Power Press at (toll-free) 877-360-1477, or at
6. For Administrators Only [back
Administrators: When you organize a training for your teachers, get
involved. Staff members resent it when you sit on the sidelines and watch
as they go through the training. The silent message your noninvolvement
communicates is, "You need this stuff, but I don't."
When I do "Respect and Responsibility" seminars, I insist that
the room do the exercises and stay involved. That policy holds even if
the meeting planner's third time through the workshop. It is important
you model active involvement for participants.
7. Idea Swap: Mystery Teachers [back
By Kathy Jordan
On the first day of November a bowl of dogfood, a bottle of sinus
medication, and a toy canoe appeared in the front hall showcase at our
school. November was Mystery Month, and mystery books were being featured
and read in the media center. Posters advertising mystery books filled
What were the strange objects that had appeared in the showcase? If you're
a super sleuth, you've probably already guessed they were clues to the
identities of our school's "mystery teachers."
Each day of the week a new clue was added on each shelf of the showcase
mystery teachers one, two, and three. By Friday the showcase held a strange
collection of items. A bowl of dogfood, lipsticks, needlepoint, "The
Garden," and a duck decoy represented the mysterious identity of
number one. A toy canoe, a jigsaw puzzle, "Island of the Blue Dolphins,"
yogurt container, and a picture of an airplane were clues on the second
shelf to mystery teacher number two's identity. The third shelf contained
sinus medicine, a tennis ball, a bowl of Cheerios, a latch hook rug, and
ukulele to hint at the identity of mystery teacher number three.
The entire population of the school became involved in solving the mystery
teachers' identities. The mystery became the talk of the teachers' lounge,
the school hallways, and many dinner tables around our town. There were
ballots. Students and teachers were encouraged to be private detectives
keep their opinions to themselves. They would "win" if they
out the teachers' identities by Friday, and their reward would be the
satisfaction of knowing they had solved a mystery.
On Friday biographical sketches of the three mystery teachers were read
over the intercom. The sketches incorporated the significance of the clues
and concluded with the name of each mystery teacher.
We continued the mystery teacher activity until all the teachers in our
building got a turn. The activity definitely helped teachers get acquainted
with one another and also helped students get to know their teachers.
caused the teachers to become more human in the minds of the students,
it created a greater degree of connectedness among everyone in our
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To find out more about books, tapes, and materials by Chick Moorman,
contact him at (toll-free) 877-360-1477 or on the web at www.chickmoorman.com.
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To find out more about workshops, seminars, and keynote addresses
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