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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and author of Meditation in the College Classroom: A Pedagogical Tool to Help Students De-Stress, Focus,...
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Act Professional!

Bobby isnt the best student. He doesnt get all As. He is not always interested in what the teacher has to say. Socially~ hes awkward.

However~ there is one thing Bobby loves~ and thats technologyand hes good at it. This boy wants to know everything about computers~ how they work~ what they look like inside~ how to repair them. In between lessons~ he fixes the teachers computers.

Bobby also assists the schools technology person~ installing keyboards~ batteries and completing other maintenance.

But Bobby has developed a bigger goal. He has his sights set on establishing a group of students~ who he will train to help with the computer repairs~ a tech kids program~ if you will.

To reach his goal~ Bobby will have to do what professionals in the working world do everyday~ convince their superiors of the value of his idea and gain their support in implementing it. Therefore~ his next step has become to create a cracker jack PowerPoint slide~ selling his proposal to the school administration.

Thats where the point of this blog comes in. With a quick search of the Internet~ Bobby can read about how professionals in sales and other fields craft a winning PowerPoint~ then he can use this as a guide to create his own product.

In other words~ he is learning to use the same methodology that professionals use in their respected fields to get results. This is a researched-based practice~ which has been studied by gifted education expert~ Joseph Renzulli

The best part is the principle can be expanded to any field or subject. If a student is designing a magazine or newspaper~ she can learn the process that professional journalists use to put together that product. A class interested in designing roller coasters or bridges as part of a science project can study the ways engineers build these structures.

The Internet provides an unlimited supply of how-to-articles and resources that help students study the crafts of various professions. In addition~ there are numerous how-to books for children that teach everything from how to publish a book to starting your own business.

While the scale and complexity might be different~ there is no reason why students cant act like professionals when conducting a research-based project or designing a product.

Here is another example: Right now~ one of my gifted second-grade students is applying for a LEGO grant so he can have his classmates take part in a castle-building project. As part of the process~ I am guiding him through completing a simplified lesson plan~ just as a teacher would be required to do when applying for a grant. He will then have a better understanding of how educators craft a lesson: start with an objective and standards~ consider materials and resources~ select about instructional methods~ then assess whether the lesson was successful.

Whenever students set upon a task~ they should utilize the same approach and methods (whenever possible) as professionals in that field would use. In the process~ they learn valuable~ real-world skills~ and they will produce a much higher quality project than if they are limited to the traditional research and learning methods in classrooms.

To discuss this topic~ please visit the Innovative Teaching group at http://community.educationworld.comcontent/act-professional-0?gid=NTEyMQ==