Saturday, September 25, 2010

Clocks and Cacoons

Ship Chronometer
After reading this weeks chapters I better understood the role the curriculum cog plays in Tomlinson's clock analogy on page 10 and felt that I understood the importance of each cog.  I was reminded of the analogy again this week as I was watching "Pawn Stars" when a customer brought a Ship Chronometer in to sale.  Learning about this type of clock made her analogy much more powerful to me.  A Ship Chronometer or Sea Clock was used as a type of GPS system for sailors.  By setting the clock to Greenwich England mean time and comparing its time to that of sun position time and to a world time map they could do some equations to find their exact location.  But for it to work the Chronometer had to run perfectly.  On page 12 Tomlinson mentions that, "Understanding these elements can provide us with a compass for decision making as a teacher plans to adapt instruction to student needs."  When I first read her introduction to this analogy that phrase escaped me and what I gathered was that teaching had to run like clock work with each thing its place working precisely together.  That might be "good" teaching but it is not "Differentiated" teaching.  When we use these elements as best we can and have all three cogs; teacher, student, and curriculum running as they should,  we will be able to map a course for our selves and each student and then be able to monitor our progress with each part.  All parts are needed and if they are running precisely we will be able to get each student to their destination.

  The butterfly's cocoon has long been a powerful analogy for me and putting it as Tomlinson put it made perfect sense to me.  From page 17, " Important as self-esteem is, the developing person must move from its protective cocoon toward a sense of self-efficacy."  If a butterfly is aided in removing its own cocoon its wings will not have the gained strength from that experience and consequently be unable to fly.  Differentiating Teachers will not only allow students to contribute but they will find ways that will help the students grow on their own and be able to see that they themselves have strength to learn and grow.

1 comment:

Teacherheart said...

Wow, these were powerful insights, Andy! It will be a dream-come-true, for me AND for you, if you can help your students make the same kinds of connections to what you teach them as YOU have made to what Carol is teaching you! Wow... I love your explanation of how you understand the cog metaphor now. 4 points