Posted by: edevolution | May 4, 2011

A Good Teacher Learns

    Well, here we are on Release Day. The video’s done, the social networking is set up and ready to go. All that remains to do is actually press a bunch of publish buttons. I don’t know if my students are nervous, but I have to admit I’m nervous for them. When I think about all the work they’ve put in, the effort, creativity, excitement and energy, I very much want to see this succeed. They’ve created and collaborated, negotiated and delegated, overcome and struggled through. I’ve seen kids show more dedication in the past three months than I’ve seen in ten years of education.
I’ve learned a lot about teaching in the last three months. These students really are right. Educational needs aren’t the same as when I was in middle school twenty years ago. The modern educator is a facilitator, an organizer, and a guide – the modern educator is NOT a teacher. We are no longer (or should no longer be) in the business of giving information. The information is out there, easily grasped. It’s our job to present it to the students in a way that makes them want to learn themselves. That’s basically what this video – and this whole project – is about. We’re still using exactly the same methodologies – with, in some cases, niftier tools – that we used twenty (one hundred!) years ago. Lecture and listen. Drill and kill. Review and test, always test, again and again. Repeat with next unit. That was onerous and tired twenty years ago when I was a student. Why are we still using it now?

A good teacher learns. These kids have taught me.

Now let’s see if they can teach the world.

-J. Fletcher



  1. Wow! I am so impressed and blown away by the professionalism and message that your video sends!

    I consider it a privilege to call some of you my former students. I look forward to turning on the news and seeing your project as the top story.

    You can cultivate change.

    Noelle Pickering (Ms. Varela)

  2. I hope the educators of the world sit up and take notice! You certainly got my attention. Great job!

  3. You should be commended for fostering such passion in your students. I hope more educators embrace the notion that our students can teach us if we just listen….. you, Mr. Fletcher, have listened!!! Your students will NEVER forget this experience! Well done!

  4. I know there are some wonderful teachers, who actively reflect on their practice, and mediate their delivery of the curriculum to inspire their students. I’d like to think I was one too. However those that are, are few! And far between. I did not want to take the gamble that my children would miss out, and not even experience one such teacher. I decided to homeschool them. Thank you for keeping up ‘the fight” for educational transformation within educational institutions!
    Your students, and their families are VERY lucky that they had this opportunity

  5. This is an incredible product made by truly motivated students. I know you are proud of them and it shows in their commitment. With your permission I’d like to share your video with my collegues and on my blog.

    • Absolutely! Please feel free to share it with anyone you want.

  6. Very reminiscent of Montessori approach for elementary students , with strikingly similar techniques and concepts used primarily with Highly Motivated Learners, (sans the emphasis/reliance on technology): i.e. gifted and talented students in magnet schools. Possibly/probably not as effective in (New York/Detroit) schools with 50-60 students per classroom or for use in Alternative Education/disciplinary situations. Would like to see Reality Therapy concepts combined with this focus to address the needs of another, perhaps larger, segment of our student populations.

  7. […] learned a lot about teaching in the last three months,” he writes. “Educational needs aren’t the same as when I was in middle school twenty years ago. The […]

  8. I stumbled upon this site by sheer luck but am thrilled to have found it. This is a truly worthwhile pursuit and I congratulate you and your students on your efforts in bringing out a long-overdue and much needed reform. The push for change is advocated on many fronts but none is more valuable than the voice of the future.

    On a related note, I would be interested in speaking to you about a global virtual-based collaborative initiative that I am currently spearheading. Rock Thoughts is a project focused on empowering children through creativity and I am particularly interested in partnering with individuals who support the notion of collaborative learning and the use of technology as a tool to create knowledge. I invite you to visit our site ( and would love to hear from you if you think this might be a project of interest for you.

    In any case, I commend you on your work and wish you all the best of luck!

  9. I am a teacher in NJ. I will be sharing this very moving and truth-filled video with my colleagues. There is so much that can be done but because of testing and other school programs it is sometimes hard to get teachers to move beyond.

    What I hope your efforts will do is help to motivate administrators to not only support but demand their teachers begin such innovation. This should have happened long before now, but it’s never too late.

    Great work! 🙂

  10. […] students teacher as saying, “I’ve learned a lot about teaching in the last three months,” he writes. “Educational needs aren’t the same as when I was in middle school twenty years ago. The modern […]

  11. Love it! Very well done. The educational system needs to change and I hope this video can help make that change happen.

  12. Have you read “Disrupting Class” by Clayton Christensen? His work parallels yours and could be really useful to you. Also studies by the Innosight Institute.

  13. This video raises some good points. Technology is a major part of children’s lives today. Social interaction and creativity can aid in the learning process. However, we must have consideration for the benefits of the current classroom structure. If it has lasted this long, there is surely something good about it. I agree that a revolution in teaching methods might be necessary, but I have reservations, too. Is this just an excuse for students who want to play on their computers and talk to their friends during class? Is that okay? What about the students who learn well with a lecturing teacher and a pencil and paper? Would this simply make things easier for the children who have difficulty paying attention at school? I am, again, not completely against such changes; but I believe a very serious analysis is necessary regarding the potential detrimental effects of a teaching revolution.

    • Unjour, the issue that this video is addressing is that our children have grown up ‘plugged-in.’ As such, asking them to power-down when they enter the school is counter productive to the way their brains are now trained to find and utilize information. Technology has the potential to reach every student with diverse student needs. If they learn visually, technology offers a graphically rich environment. If they learn by text, there is an equally rich offering. If they learn by doing, there are simulations and demonstrations they can participate in. The voiceless student gains a voice with the use of blogs and social applications/software. The student who excels has the ability to soar, discovering new depth to their passion. While the 100 year old traditional classroom may offer a small percentage something of value, they do not address the vast majority of our students. The sage on the stage has limited value. With vision, creativity, and student empowerment (responsibility), our kids have opportunities to learn in breadth and depth like we never imagined; like we witnessed in this video. The professional educator evolved with the advent of the chalkboard, and again with pencil and paper, further with radio, film and TV. It’s past time education evolved to embrace technology and all the richness and opportunity it offers. If this is in doubt, I offer two words, “Bueller? Bueller?”

  14. […] σημαντική θεωρώ την άποψη του εκπαιδευτικού που είδε μαθητές και μαθήτριες της Β’ και Γ’ […]

  15. […] A Good Teacher Learns «. Check out this great article about the future of education… making schools make sense for today’s plugged-in teens […]

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