The Sign Of The Amateur Educator

 "The sign of the amateur is the overglorification of and the preoccupation with the mystery."
This fantastic line comes from a must read: The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield.  Please read it.
Closer inspection will prove rewarding.

Before we look at the actual sign(s) of the amateur, let's clarify what the sign of the amateur is referring to.  Educators embody unique characteristics based on their level of "get it."  Teachers who "get it" exude the "get it" glow.  Be it a fire in their eyes or an aura, you know when an educator "gets it."

This article describes the difference between an amateur educator and a professional educator based on the "get it" factor.

3 Things Experts Say Make A Perfect Study Session

Peter Brown (a writer), Henry Roediger (a psychologist), and Mark McDaniel (another psychologist) have 3 important tips for learners on how to study.

Try this tomorrow in school: ask any of your students how they study.  Their response:  "uh, I like read the textbook and look at the notes."  One study found upwards of 84% of students reread text.

Even to those not in education, this seems like a waste of time, and it is.

Help your students improve their study habits by highlighting the advice of Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel in their book Make It Stick.

This article will discuss what your students should not be doing to study and will give you a response when you hear the inevitable "uh, I like read the textbook and look at the notes." 

Do You Want Your Students To Like You? Do These 2 Things Backed By Research

"Why don't they like me?  I mean, we share the same students... why do they do your work and not mine...?"

I was embarrassed and felt awkward.  It was truly an uncomfortable moment.  A fellow educator, far my superior, quietly entered my classroom bordering on tears.  He had had one of those days.

"I don't know, they've all been a little distracted lately" I replied.

As unsettling as the situation was, it got my wheels spinning.

 What makes a teacher likable?

This article is not about the characteristics of effective teachers.  This article is about what makes an instructor favorable in the eyes of their students.  I began digging around looking for a concrete, research backed answer.

The path to the answer lead me from Daniel Willingham's awesome book Why Don't Students Like School to a paper from the 1960's where a definitive answer emerged.

This article will highlight the two characteristics that make an instructor likable.  Why do we care?

Because students will do the work for teachers they like.

Science Says You Can Think Better If You Dress Better

Andre began wearing suits in high school.  He now wears them everyday of the week, even in his own home when alone.  Currently, he is in a very powerful position as an editor.  He is 21.

Ask Andre why we wears the suit and you'll hear the same response everyone has heard, "I feel more powerful and in control.  People take me more seriously and I think better."

I've always thought he was crazy.  

However, a recent article in The Atlantic got me thinking that Andre was onto something.

The article describes the work of Abraham Rutchick, a psychologist at California State University and led me into the rabbit hole that is the internet.  I dug myself out with three strange, but potentially important implications for education.

Keep reading to learn how we can use clothes to increase teacher and student effectiveness.

4 Ways To Make Thinking Easier For Your Students

Students don't like school because thinking is difficult according to Daniel Willingham, author of Why Don't Students Like School.

Read it.

Thinking is a slow and tedious process and we don't like to do it for anything unnecessary for survival.  The brain and body have automatic responses to deal with life's most pressing issues.  Think of all the emotional and physical impulses associated with the key components of live: food, safety, and reproduction.

You feel hungry so you don't need to think about whether or not you need food.

When startled, you duck your head and bring your arms to your chest protecting your head and visceral organs.

And well, reproduction explains itself.

Thinking is what the brain does to deal with anything not essential for life and death.  It is combining external perceived stimuli with knowledge stored in long term memory to make sense of an ever-changing environment.

Deliberate thinking is not only effortful and laborious, it is often flawed.  It it filled with biases, judgements, and memories that are dynamic and ever-changing.  Read Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnmen for more information on how the brain makes decisions.

Students don't like school because thinking is difficult.  If you want your students to like school, make thinking easier for them and facilitate the process.  In this article, you'll learn four ways to do just that.

How Not To Fail Lesson Implementation

How many teaching professional development resources focus on what not to do rather than best practices?


Try this thought experiment.  Take 45 seconds and identify the number one factor that makes you an effective educator.

According to Google Analytics, there are 1312 people who read The Pragmatic TV Teacher a month, and none of you just thought of the same answer.

There are infinite number of ways to be an effective educator.

But how many ways are there to FAIL?