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The Once and Future Teacher

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Newsletter-College16There’s a lot of discussion these days about what makes a good teacher and the future of education. While some might argue that there will always be a need for instructors, we all know we don’t live in an ‘ivory tower.’ Our profession is as impacted as any other by recent economic challenges, developing technology, even world events. But if anyone’s qualified to speculate about possible outcomes, it’s teachers!

Let’s begin with a review of the current discussion –

There’s no question that teaching is hard. This Washington Post article highlights some of the challenges from bodily fluids to the grading that never ends – http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/12/27/how-hard-is-teaching

The value and purpose of higher education are being called into question. Are we just churning out students and future citizens who “work too much, think too much about work, and cultivate an air of competent yet maniacal busyness?”

The New Yorker explores the debate in cartoons – http://www.newyorker.com/cartoons/bob-mankoff/cartoons-can?utm_source=tny&utm_campaign=generalsocial&utm_medium=twitter&mbid=social_twitter

There’s also a growing push for “an increase in accountability, in the measurability of student learning and the effectiveness of teaching” according to McClatchyDChttp://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/08/20/237112_colleges-find-teachers-need-teaching.html?rh=1

Numerical data collection and analysis is shaping our daily lives from the cookies on your computer that select the content you’re shown to register receipts that determine what’s stocked in your local Publix.

Mashable explores how “big data” is playing a role in school development and the classroom – http://mashable.com/2014/08/20/big-data-education/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link

The Huffington Post shares this infographic on just where teaching stands vis-a-vis computer use – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/25/education-of-the-future_n_5549193.html

Can data provide the answer to what education should be?

Is there a “set of best practices that can be codified and learned through extensive hands-on coaching, self-scrutiny, and collaboration” as suggested by The Atlantic? http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/09/building-better-teachers/375066/

M. Night Shyamalan argues that standardizing and implementing best practices is key to revitalizing underperforming schools – http://www.c-span.org/video/?319912-1/m-night-shyamalan-education-policy

But according to PBS, success comes from teachers creating their own curriculum – http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/greater-independence-teachers-result-higher-student-performance/

What should we be teaching? STEM, basics, communication skills, teamwork?

Peter Baskerville argues that “Learning specific subject matter is now far less valuable than the competency of knowing how to learn.”  http://www.slate.com/blogs/quora/2014/07/04/education_what_lessons_should_be_essential_in_modern_day_schools.html

If you’re thinking STEM teachers have it easy, consider this article from Harvard Business Review highlighting the conditions for successful application of management practice, “not just of economic development but of institutional character, physical geography, educational norms, language, and culture” – http://hbr.org/2014/09/contextual-intelligence/ar/1

According to this article from The Atlantic, what employers want though is experience – http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/08/the-thing-employers-look-for-when-hiring-recent-graduates/378693/

So what can we do as teachers to stay relevant and be productive? How can we meet this myriad of needs?

1) Embrace technology!

SPC will provide training on our new system, D2L – http://www.spcollege.edu/wits/training-schedule/

Visit the Seminole Innovation Lab – https://sandbox.spcollege.edu/index.php/2014/06/seminole-innovation-lab-brings-the-future-to-spc/

2) Explore success stories!

The 35th Annual Florida Developmental Education Conference will be held at St. Petersburg College: Gibbs Campus on September 25th and 26th, 2014http://www.fdea.net/conference/

The Florida Consortium for International Education (FCIE) will host an annual conference at Valencia College on September 25-26th, 2014http://fcie.org/events/annual-fall-conference-2014/

Apply for a CETL grant for travel monies, to conduct your own research, or develop your own curriculum! Deadline is October 6, 2014http://web.spcollege.edu/cetl/?page_id=114

3) Point out how your work applies!

Invite the Career Center in to discuss what jobs exist in your discipline – http://www.spcollege.edu/careerservices/

Work with the College-wide Internship Office to find students practical experience – http://www.spcollege.edu/intern/

Share your findings in the CETL blog. Let your colleagues know what works, what doesn’t, what questions still remain! This blog is about faculty, for faculty, by faculty – staff and admin too! All articles, photos, videos, etc. welcome – just email bryson.kathy@spcollege.edu

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