Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller

Motivation is Outside the Textbook

  • Matt stared using TodaysMeet, which allows all students to contribute to a class conversation online. When he did, he found that students who refused to engage in class conversations would join it. Today’s employees are doing less and less routine work every year while students in our schools engage in a lot routine work. At the same time what’s called cheating in schools is called collaboration outside. Once students get outside of textbooks they are more likely to find things that interest and motivate them. As a result they are likely to find their purpose sooner. In addition to text and pictures, the Internet has videos that you can use to learn just about anything.
  • Schools where students all do the same thing at the same time following teacher’s directions were useful during the industrial revolution when we needed cog-like factory workers. Now students can easily find information that the teacher doesn’t know. Teachers now need to help students ask the right questions and facilitate the pursuit of answers. Self-directed learning is easier to establish in some content areas than others. Matt is a Spanish teacher who lets the students choose the vocabulary that interests them. Once you go digital, you start taking the path from gatekeeper of knowledge to guide.
  • Although some tech skills may become obsolete, many are skills students will need to do jobs that don’t currently exit. Such skills allow students to become authors, movie makers, public speakers, and entrepreneurs. With proper guidance they can make a game of finding worthy ideas in unlikely places. Matt encourages teachers to praise hard work and novel ideas. Teamwork is also an essential skill teachers can promote via projects using digital tools. Teachers need to try to stay on the leading edge as new tools become available. Students are also more likely to continue work long after the school day.

Section 2. Ditch That Mindset

  • One’s mindset is a huge factor that determines your success. It is vital for teachers to open their minds to new approaches. Anything you can do to help students see themselves in the learning will give them motivation to engage. Textbooks tend to be pretty stodgy. Matt encourages teachers to add as much fun and magic as possible and be sure to tell stories and have the students do so as well. Kids are curious and want to have a good time. Kids don’t learn as much from people they don’t like. Like many modern authors, Matt focuses on the importance of relationships between teachers and students. Empathy can help. You need to act in such a way that they know you are happy to see them and are trying to make their day. Teachers can also fill an important role for students who don’t have many friends. They will know if you care.
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