Thursday, February 9, 2012

Madeline Hunter 2012

Madeline Hunter is one of those names in education that I recall studying back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I was studying to be a teacher.  Yes, I confessed to being only 40 in my last post, but when I think back to typing some of my papers on a typewriter, it seems we're in a completely different world now. 

I landed in teaching in sort of a backward way.  My undergrad degrees were in French and music, and I did not take any education courses until grad school.  I completed my Master's program in fifteen calendar months -- including studetn teaching.  To be honest, all the names and which names matched which theories were all a blur -- especially as I tried to simply survive student teaching.

I recently picked up a copy of Hunter's Mastery Teaching.  It is designed to accompany a video series, but read it anyway.  I would, in fact, encourage any veteran teacher to revisit "the classics" through the lens of a seasoned teacher -- I think Hunter would agree.

So here's a quote from Madeline Hunter's Mastery Teaching: is important for teachers to identify consciously and deliberately the decisions needing to be made in each category and base their decisions on research-validated knowledge.  Equally important is teachers' ability to "read" signals from students and to assess the learning situation so necessary adjustments will be made.

From my perspective as a veteran (but still growing) teacher, I offer this:

Plan your lessons thoughtfully, but be ready to seize those "teachable moments".  Be prepared to be flexible.  Listen to  your students so you can better meet your learning needs.  Be data-informed, but not data-driven -- in other words, don't box yourself in based on last year's results from assessments taken by last year's students.  Date from last week may even be overridden by a sudden breakthough in learning, or an unexpected tragedy affecting students in your class.

If your teaching employs only science, you're a technologist.  If your "art" does not have a scientific foundation, you're simply a promising amateur.  You need both art and science to be a mastery teacher.

--Madeline Hunter, Mastery Teaching

So my challenge to you is to go read something by Madeline Hunter.  Think about it in relation to your teaching and your students.

Let me know how it goes!

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