Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller

Lessons From Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People

  • Matt condenses this classic book into six things that teachers should try to do as they interact with students. If you leverage these ideas you will also help students make good decisions. 1. Make the other person feel important in a sincere manner. 2. If you are wrong admit it quickly and emphatically. 3. Get the other person to say yes immediately. This can be done if you ask the right question. 4. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing others. 5. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. 6. Dramatize your ideas.

Pedagogy Must Drive Technology

  • Matt is hip to what many other authors have discovered. Just because you have access to technology there is no guarantee that more and better learning will take place. Teachers need to beware the glitter and flash that technology offers without asking how will this impact learning? They should also be brave enough to explore the new high-tech landscape rather than shunning it.
  • Matt promotes the SAMR model to help teachers make wise use of technology. S is for substitution, which requires teachers to ask what are they substituting the technology for. A is for augmentation, which asks how does the technology allow the student to do something better. M is for modification, which asks how is the final product different from the non-tech effort. R is for redefinition, which happens when technology allows for creation of something not possible without it. Matt offers ten ways for teachers to reach the Redefinition level.

Give Students Control

  • Matt sees an analogy between renters who don’t improve the property they rent and students. The trick is to get students to own their education. This means that you need to help students see the relationship between what they are learning and what they want to be someday. The content you choose and how you present it can make this happen or not. This also involves giving students more control, which is tricky. Among the current innovative ideas Matt likes are Genius Hour and flipping your class. Matt also notes that good teachers never have time to do everything necessary so they need to learn how to cut some corners. One example is not grading everything students submit.
  • Many top teachers seem to work day and night seven days a week. Matt recommends that you look for ways to be more effective without working past the point of diminishing returns. For example, he prefers working side by side with students while they are writing rather than spending hours nit picking their work. If you feel overworked, it may be your own fault.
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