The world ain’t what it used to be. Kids don’t read anymore. Its all the parents fault. Maybe. While history is still full of great stories, they are all trapped in dusty books. But that is about to change. Podcasting has given birth to the genre-bending works of a few intrepid historians. A new generation of storytellers trying to make the way we handle history a thing of the past.
As an ESL teacher in adult continuing education, it is important to remember that those blinking faces on the first day of class have already fought half the battle. They showed up today. That was not easy. And not to make mountains out of molehills, but their whole lives have been prelude to this. At least that’s how the teacher should see it. They are not blank slates. Because everything that has led them to your classroom, everything they have experienced in their lives until that day. All of their decisions, their hardships, their circumstances, their passions, their demons. All of those things came with them to the classroom. Because all of those things are what brought them to the classroom. We call this motivation.
In the following podcast, the historian meets the bard. World War Two was an event that has shaped the modern world. One that deserves attention to detail, requires factual accountability but must be handled with care. Newly released on itunes, The Story Engine takes a new approach to history, it puts it back in the hands of the storyteller. Spinning dusty volumes into yarn. In this two-part story of the showdown between Hitler and Stalin, every word refers to an actual event in the war, while the imagery is fantastical. A mixture of Gothic prose, operatic crescendo and fact. History the way it should be told. History the way it was once told, but with the benefit of academic accountability. I present The Curse of the Broken Cross:
Here’s how it works. Every week, following twitterers pitch them education-related discussion topics. They choose 5 topics to go on twtpoll.com . The topic with the most votes is then discussed Tuesdays 12pm NYT (EST) and 7pm NYT (EST). For about an hour, English-speaking twitter-savvy educators all over the world hash it out. This casual crowd-sourced consensus-based democratic system never fails to get educators talking. Read the trade press all you want, but if you want to know what’s really going on in education, its on #edchat.
The word “change” comes up a lot, whether it’s popular uprisings, important elections, or the work of great leaders. Great turning points in history always seem to be marked by great events. Its tempting, even romantic, to think of change in terms of sweeping political movements, but we ought to give ourselves a little more credit. Lets face it, Ive never seen an omelet that wasn’t made out of broken eggs. Progress does not always happen in great forward strides. Often it happens despite them.
Distance learning, e-learning, online learning or whatever you want to call it. Its a joke, right? Sure, laugh it up. You probably think online education is something you get from a Cracker Jack box or the back of an Archie comic. Here is a list of the most common beliefs associated with online learning and the equally simplistic rationale for each one. Then read contributor Jessica Meyer’s article below and find out just how the internet is changing how our world learns.
At Hogwarts, students were treated like soon-to-be-adults, expected to fulfill obligations, meet deadlines, and pass difficult, detailed exit exams. Disruptions were almost non-existent, and students who just couldn’t get it were not allowed to enter the upper level classes. It is insinuated that such students would end up as clerks, housemaids, servers, bus drivers, and service sector workers, etc. There is nothing wrong with this.
YouTube offers an enormous number of channels completely geared to education. Availing these can help develop career standards and grab a prosperous future. So, take a look at the following ten YouTube channels that can be extremely helpful for educators:
The result satisfies those who are concerned with maintaining standards of English fluency. English learners, who would otherwise be falling behind, benefit threefold. They integrate more effectively, they maintain educated fluency in their mother language, and they cultivate bilingualism as empowerment rather than a burden. Being a Spanish speaker becomes a valuable asset rather than obstacle to success.