Our Wednesday blog posts are a smattering of ideas from a wider variety of sources than we cover on the other days of the week. Sometimes people will distinguish very sharply between ideas “of a religious nature” and others. Through most of the history of Christianity, the Church has held a different opinion. We strive to see all of life through the lens of Christian philosophy. All humans are, in one way or another, teachers. In this series of lectures, Dr. Patrick Allitt explores what it is to be a teacher. Let’s dig in.
The Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator. Performed by Patrick N. Allitt. U.S.A.: The Teaching Company, 2010. DVD. Lecture 10, “Teaching the Critical Skills.”
In this lecture, Allitt discusses how the teacher enables students in reading, taking notes, thinking, and being able to present information themselves. This is a large challenge. Allitt reflects that he spends a great amount of time helping students learn to pull information out of written texts. Learning to read aloud and identify the tone of the writing is very important. Learning positive time management skills and overcoming procrastination is crucial to helping students become successful.
Creation of intermediate deadlines can be very helpful for students who need to be pulled into activity. Encouragement of literacy is important for students. Those who don’t read widely and well will not become truly educated. Reading away from distractions is very helpful. Reading slowly and carefully develops concentration and awareness of details. Learning to read quickly for overviews and even specific information is also an important skill. Allitt views reading aloud and re-reading as the master keys to understanding a piece of written material. He regularly has students read aloud. Learning to paraphrase a reading is a valuable research and learning skill. Finding the tone and emotional cadence of a reading is helpful in entering into the author’s argument.
The good teacher will help students review, understand, and be able to summarize information. Reading an assignment twice is a good practice, when possible. Learning to draw adequate notes from a reading or other situation is also a very valuable skill. Finding the main points and subsidiary points helps the student grasp the organization of the source material. Allitt suggests students learn to write a one paragraph summary of a chapter or a one line summary of each page read. Occasional collection and review of some notes can help students take better notes and teachers to evaluate learning.
Allitt finally suggests teachers help students learn the different styles of writing and speaking used in different times and different contexts to see why various materials are written as they are. This helps understand the cultural setting of the original message.
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