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Posts Tagged ‘models

You can learn how to teach (or how not to) from critical observation and reflection. Take this basic lesson for instance: Simply repeating the same thing is not teaching and does not guarantee learning.

Late last year I collected my iMac from a repair store. To make sure that it was working, the customer service representative (CSR) plugged it in with a generic power cable. My iMac did something it had never done before — its fan blew so hard and loudly as if to take flight.

Worried about my Mac, I asked the CSR why it was doing that. She replied that the generic cable was responsible. I asked why the cable could cause the fan to blow so hard and she repeated the answer.

I was on tender hooks while my Mac howled to complete its start up. After shutting it down, I asked for a proper cable instead. This time it started up like it normally would — quietly. Again I asked why the fan blew so hard with the previous cable and the CSR repeated her answer.

Her reply was not helpful because she did not actually answer my question or ease my worry. I also did not learn why that cable could make a normally quiet Mac so noisy.

I need to remind myself that some novice instructors think that simply repeating the same answers or actions is teaching. It is not if it does not result in meaningful learning. These instructors are likely just repeating what they have seen or experienced, so it is important to make them aware of this and to model alternative strategies.

On reflection, the CSR might have been responding superficially because my question was superficial. A more precise question might have been: Why did a generic cable cause the computer fan to blow so hard while the branded cable did not? Again the strategy applies. Create awareness of the need for better questions and model how to ask them.

The Today rag co-opted a New York Times article but changed the headline about how the meat industry was responding to plant-based “meat” like Impossible and Beyond.

The original NYT headline read:

NYT headline of its article.

The Today headline was:

TODAY paper headline of the same NYT article.

The NYT headline was more accurate. The Today headline came across as a warning to consumers that favoured the old school over the new.

Not only that, my screen shots reveal something else — the NYT linked to its sources and sites outside its interests while Today did not.

If we want our students to be more news literate, it is not enough to force them to read X number of articles every week. The source of those articles is important in modelling behaviours that we would like them to mimic.


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