Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Effective Pedagogy

I read recently that good teaching results in learning. I have to disagree. The best lessons can result in zero learning if they meet with unreceptive students. I am only one teacher that sees some students for only 40 minutes per week. If they come to the room without being ready to learn, there is little I can do to affect their attitude.
Good pedagogy must consider several measures in instruction: the intelligence quotient, the emotional quotient, the adversity quotient, and the spiritual quotient.
In schools we do a great job of considering the intelligence quotient and the emotional quotient. Expanding our vision of pedagogy will enable us to consider other crucial elements.
The adversity quotient measures the tenacity of learners in difficult situations. This principle, laid out by Paul Stoltz (1997) is described in James 1:2-4. In other words, are learners challenged to work in their zone of proximal development? Am I creating a state of disequilibrium for learners? Are members of the learning community tenacious in the face of failure? I can augment learners AQ through challenging activities that create disequilibrium and require persistance in order to learn from failure. Too many learners in K-12 come into my classroom expecting to be spoon fed correct answers, to always win, and me to be a tradional teacher. Sorry 'bout their luck. I expect all learners to fail, learn from mistakes, create their own learning, and that I will learn at the same time they do!
The life of the Spirit, or a students' spiritual quotient, must also be considered when designing effective instruction. Learners awareness of and response to the Holy Spirit as their plumb line does not stop at the church door. God espouses growth of character. Ethics seem to be lacking in so many K-12 learners. It would appear that this vital element for successful communication, collaboration, & connection would be up to those in the school (i.e. me).
Many would say this is not a concern in a US public school. I would challenge you on that! I have seen a mighty demonstration of His power through learners who had a high SQ in public school. I could only model this and not teach it directly in public school, yet He is faithful. Ask me sometime how public school learners prayed for me when I could not and how He answered those prayers!
Stoltz, Paul (1997). Adversity quotient: Turning obstacles into opportunities. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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NJTechTeacher said...

Even in a parochial school, it is a challenge to get at the spiritual quotient. It is important to model the best I can for the 42 minutes I see the students once or twice per week. Part of what makes the job exhausting is getting a new group every 42 minutes and providing little life lessons on treating each other as Jesus expects.

Dan Spesia said...

Minus all the religious aspects brought about in this post, I agree with Durff. If the students are not willing to put time and effort into learning, it makes teaching that much harder for an educator. It is not just the teacher job to put effort in at school. Students must meet their teachers half way. Students have to come to class with a positive attitude and the willingness to learn. I believe teacher play a slight part in their student’s willingness to learn. Teachers have to have passion for what they teach as do the student when it comes to learning. Like Durff, I believe in respecting the individual abilities of every student. As an educator I want to appeal to all my students. Dealing with adversity in school should be a priority for all teachers.

Gabe said...

Ms. Durff,

I couldn’t agree more with every detail of your blog. Teachers can’t do it on their own. Students must meet teachers halfway in order to learn. And like you said, teachers can encourage this by pushing the adversity and spiritual quotient, in addition to the traditional IQ and emotional quotient. As difficult as it may be sometimes, we need to stand back and let students fail sometimes, in order that they won’t fail when it really matters. We also must stress the Spirit to students. Romans 8:6 says “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Let’s give our students the latter. And yes, He certainly is faithful.

Gabe Birkey

1 Corinthians 1:9