Promoting effective learning through effective teaching

Pedro Noguera challenged teachers and administrators to develop an attitude of wanting to understand the students we are working with and striving to have schools have a positive impact on our students.

Noguera, a professor in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University and very involved in urban education, was the luncheon speaker on Monday and challenged teachers to go beyond test preparation that is emphasized by mandated testing.

He stressed the importance of effective teaching to promote learning. 

“The number one complaint about schools is that it’s boring. And that’s because it is.”

Too often teachers use “the cemetery method of teaching” — Line them up in rows and keep them as quiet as possible. 

Too often teachers “confuse talking with teaching.”  

Lectures should be eliminated, and teachers should engage students with projects, simulations and other active-learning activities. But he said those methods require much more skill for teachers, and some aren’t comfortable in trying those other methods. Mentors can help new teachers learn how to use those other stragegies.

Mentors also can help new teachers learn how to build relationships with their students — conveying to students and their families that we as teachers care about the students’ learning and believe in their ability to learn.

Understanding our students can help us figure out how to engage them.

“No one can make a student learn. But we can make them want to learn.” 

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