Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor

About me


I agree. Formal policies prevent a lot of issues.  For example, if a student comes to you privately and asks to be able to do something for extra credit, being the kind hearted teachers that we are, it is tempting to offer extra chances.   But if those chances are not offered to all equally, and it becomes rumored that a teacher 'plays favorites' it can create a lot of unrest, and even accusations of prejudice or bigotry.  Its about finding that 'comfort zone' of flexibility.   I once had a situation involving a severe illness, that really required a lot of… >>>

I can echo that.  I have used Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire for content review.   I typically break the class into three or four groups and the group gets to collaborate on the answer.  For that reason, the 'buzzer' time is extended.

So true!   We really need to do a better job when crafting lessons.  Sequence is important, and so is quantity.  A then B, then C, but be careful about introducing D and E until another lesson.  We run the risk of getting to point D,E and unwittingly erasing A, B, and C from the frontal cortex.   This is especially true for new learners.

Most people lose focus during lectures.  Our brains are not designed for it.  That is why we call it 'death by PowerPoint'.   At the same time, labs without explanation are often empty steps performed to get a grade.   Labs and Lecture really belong together.   Keeping the lecture very short, very focused on what the student is about to perform, keeps it relevant, which is key.   Telling them what they will be doing, and why, sets the stage.  If they make some 'engineering notes', those can be the basis for a short follow up sharing session regarding what worked, what didn't,… >>>

Thank you Kisi.  I think we all know that learning is a very individual process.  However, mass education is still the norm, so we have to deal in what works for the masses.

I discussed this with a local guy, a PhD in Cognitive Training.  He said that some people dispute the idea of a 3 idea maximum and push for 5-7.  However in his research, the number of people who could handle even 4-5 ideas in their heads at one time was extremely small, so small as to be outliers. 6-7 would be an Einstein, or in moderns terms, Jeff… >>>

Thank you.  The reality check is that TED presenters practice their delivery for many days in order to hone their words/tone and measure impact.   No full time teacher has that luxury.   At the same time, practicing the principles of quarter hour mini lessons, limited topics, and emotional connection can create a habit pattern that takes advantage of presentational science.

Admittedly, teaching to the test seems like something we should frown on.   At the same time, if the course is constructed properly around objectives and the assessments are geared to test mastery of those objectives, we are always teaching to the test.  It would be the only right way to do it!    One thing I have noticed about certtification tests is that they may have a possible 2000 questions in the test bank, of which there are really 500 questions worded 4 different ways each.    And those four different ways could also be using different strategies such as… >>>

Reply to Katherine Hillerich's post: Admittedly, it is very difficult to get assessments to match up to the individual challenges of each student.  And, teachers are not trained in psychoanalysis.  Moreover, it can be a slippery slope into subjective grading vs objective grading when accommodations are made for every student.   My main nightmare, however, is the student whose grade arbitrarily slips just 6 points from a C- (70) to an F (64.5) because of bad questions or poorly designed assessment structure.  Imagine how that plays out, particularly in colleges where that one course prevents one from taking the next… >>>

I came into this course with my own particular framework for learning, my own challenges, and my own prescriptions.   Teaching has provided me with experience observing the limitations of others. Examining that experience against the concepts in this course, has informed me to be more aware of when cognitive disability may manifest. The application is to proactively work to help students create their own workarounds.


Yes, we are all human and we all have challenges in life, challenges that allows students to relate to their teachers.  Beyond that, we are not equal, not in our talent set, not in our approach to problem solving, or even in our attitudes about how to adapt to challenges.  If we were actually equal, no student would need a teacher. 

They come to us because they want to be equal, or better. And we should want them to be, superior to us even.  That is why we teach.  

So, my 'why? is not whether to treat someone with… >>>

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