Friday, October 9, 2009

Authentic Instruction

This week Dr. Meier required us to write a 600-word essay on our readings, so I will focus on one aspect of the readings I have not already discussed.

One of our readings was Kemker, Barron, and Harmes' article about laptop computers in the elementary classroom with a focus on authentic instruction. This article resonated with me because it cited an article by Newmann and Wehlage (1993) that I have included in my literature review for my thesis. That article cites five standards for authentic instruction. In reviewing the list, I realized how much of this I incorporated into my own technology project. In reflecting a bit more, I also realized how much of what I researched for my thesis has actually made it into my curriculum this year. I find this the most exciting part of teaching. I enjoy pushing myself to being better than a mediocre teacher. It makes each day in the classroom exciting. I just do not see how some teachers can assign pages to read and questions to answer out of the textbook and sit at the desk looking busy. How boring! I know nothing terrible happens to these teachers, but personally I would feel like I was slacking and not earning my money.

Another part of this article reminded me of a study being conducted this school year at Salinas High. An English teacher is studying reading improvement in second language learners using SSR and Kindles. His control group is reading without the Kindles for SSR. The other group uses the Kindles. I do not think this is a formal action research project as we do here at CSUMB. It will be interesting to see what conclusions he comes to as to whether Kindles made a difference with students' reading.

On another note, the other day in collaboration, we were bemoaning the fact that we don't have LCD projectors in our classrooms. The Assistant Principal very curtly told us that we have gotten by without them for years and have still been able to teach. True, but I reminded her that colleges use them as standard equipment. Now I see why the statement is made that not much has changed in schools in the last one hundred years. Oh well, I just keep using my overhead and buying boxes of transparencies at $32.00 a pop. I'm doing my part to keep the economy going. :)


  1. It seems that the economy has taken the forefront in education. It doesn't matter if it adversely affects the students learning. All that is important is the almighty bottom line.

  2. the study going on at your school sound very interesting. it is kinda cool that a teacher can test this to see if the curriculum has an impact. it doesn't have to be formal action research project. im not familiar with the kindles but it would be nice to know if there is any difference in using the 2. i mean if the SSR alone is doing the job then wouldn't i make sense to do away with the second part and spend that time learning or mastering something else. It seems we have so little time to teach all the stuff that is required to learn.