Saturday, January 21, 2012

Martin Luther King on Education

via Kitchen Table Math, an essay by Peter Mayer.


  1. Hello from Manitoba!
    I just found your blog via twitter shares :) I love all the great ideas and how teaching needs to be student-centered not teacher-centered, that's so important. I noticed on your side bar that you have a section labeled "Horror Shows" and under it you have a link to the Whole Brain Teaching website. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that label but I actually blog about education and whole brain teaching and would love your opinions on the strategy! I am really interested in getting educator's opinions on this strategy (whether they are pro or con). Hope to hear from you!

  2. Suburban Chicken FarmerJanuary 23, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    "King’s Message: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste," was a great read, Thanks FedUpMom.

    Miss L, Think back on your favorite adult when you were a child, can you even imagine reciting any rules, let alone Whole Brain Teaching rules,thirty times a day for this person?
    I can't imagine having a meaningful discussion, as a child nor now as an adult, about anything that begins, ends or is interrupted with "Mirrors!" (the command to copy the speakers movements)
    Whole Brain Teaching equates constant eyes on the teacher to engagement with the subject matter.

    Since you're still a student imagine your favorite and your least-liked professors keeping a scoreboard going on you all day, every day. Would you like it? Why or why not?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. * I deleted the previous comment, spelling errors!

    I think on the important things to keep in mind is that a teacher who practices Whole Brain Teaching can still be a teacher who keeps in mind the best interest of their students. Perhaps you know some teachers who do not follow this concept, but I do plan to always have my students and the learning be the focus as opposed to myself as the teacher.

    With this in mind, concepts like the rules, mirror or the scoreboard would not be utilized if it impacted the students negatively. I would not be comfortable, as a teacher or as a student, interrupting anyone through the use of any of these strategies.

    I think it is important to realize that any of these suggestions can work for certain students and cannot for others. As a teacher it will be our goal to ensure we have full comprehension of our student's needs to ensure that we know what will work best for them and then tailor our teaching style to them. Remembering that these strategies are guidelines that do not have to be the focus of the room when put in the hands of a competent teacher. Students and learning should always be put above the teacher!

  5. Suburban Chicken FarmerJanuary 23, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Sure, Miss L, if we had some bread we could make a sandwich, if we had some peanut butter.
    You're sentiments are at odds with Whole Brain Teaching.
    Take out the mandatory mimicry, the group punishment/reward, the mandatory rules repetition- not much of Biffle's method left.

  6. I'm afraid I don't understand your sandwich comment.
    What I was hoping to get across with my last comment was that I believe that teachers can incorporate certain components or aspects of various teaching strategies without following them step-by-step.
    I wanted to highlight that it is crucial for teachers to know their student's personalities, needs and abilities and be able to flex their classroom management strategies around those aspects.
    You are right, perhaps this does not leave much of "Chris Biffle's" method left but I would like to think that the different components I bring help to create my own individual teaching method; which I think most teachers do.
    All in all, I love hearing both opinions regarding the strategy, the information has been quite helpful.

  7. Suburban Chicken FarmerJanuary 23, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Yeah, it's a poor folk's joke, which now I know is better delivered orally than written. The first part, "if we had some bread we could make a sandwich," oughtta grab your attention just as the last part, "if we had some peanut butter" lands in all it's silly pathetic absurdity.
    It cracks me up. Hilarious play on grammar, on boredom and on having nothing. Ah well.

  8. Miss L, I don't really understand your point of view. If you're genuinely interested in finding out your student's needs, I don't see how ANY of the techniques in Whole Brain teaching would be useful to you. Everything about WBT is doing things to students, not finding out who they are.

    Where in a WBT video do you ever see students speaking their own mind? Never. All they do is parrot what the teacher said.

  9. FedUpMom,
    I apologize for not explaining myself clearly through my previous comments. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability.

    Knowing my students is incredibly important to me and I think that it is vital to understand your student's needs, personalities and abilities in order to have a successful classroom. I am not using WBT techniques to learn about my students. I use aspects of WBT to deliver certain components of lesson material to switch things up and provide different ways to engage my students (when appropriate for the lesson, students, etc).

    One of the comments that I mentioned on my blog as well is that the WBT videos are used to display WBT techniques. They do not show an entire class. Since the video is used to highlight a specific technique, other aspects of classroom life are edited out for timing purposes. I can't, however, speak for other teachers, so maybe they do not allow their students to engage in open discussions and learning explorations. Personally, I encourage group discussions and "standard" classroom procedures that you would see in any classroom.

    Do you find it a common theme that many WBT teachers do not include these aspects? Are there any teachers that practice WBT in your school?

    I hope this shows my view point more clearly. I think one of the main things that I am trying to get across is that: yes, I do use WBT methods but no, it does not dictate how my classroom is organized (it is simply a component).