Pop Culture PD: Anyone?

Have you ever watched a movie or TV show about a teacher or an administrator and thought, “where were they during inservice”?

Alright…I know everyone doesn’t have those thoughts, or a mental list of professional learning opportunities that would benefit many of our most famous teacher icons. Welcome to my brain! And welcome to the first (in what I feel like will be a) series of posts to help our friends in fake classrooms everywhere learn and grow!

Anyone? Anyone? How could I start anywhere else?


Watch the Clip HERE!

Our poor, infamous, teacher friend has gotten his fair share of ridicule since the debut of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in 1986. We have ALL had this teacher, know this teacher, or perhaps felt like this teacher at some point in our lives, which is why these scenes are so iconic. Today, we will focus on his actual lesson, and not just the painful way he takes attendance.

It is tempting to fast forward, get more popcorn, or check Facebook while he lectures his less-than-engaged fictional students. But as I take a second look, I  realize that my own teaching has often been characterized by one of the small missteps that could have made this lesson something worth Bueller’s attendance: WAIT TIME!

We all know that Wait/Think time is necessary for ALL students to formulate thoughts and process information. In fact, this strategy was first published by Mary Budd Rowe in 1972, meaning that Mr. Rooney (if he were paying more attention to instruction) could have offered a workshop for his teachers on the topic!

In an article published by the US Department of Education in 1984, Robert J. Stahl lists the following benefits for students of just THREE SECONDS of wait time added to instructional practice:

  • The length and correctness of their responses increase.
  • The number of their “I don’t know” and no answer responses decreases.
  • The number of volunteered, appropriate answers by larger numbers of students greatly increases.
  • The scores of students on academic achievement tests tend to increase.

Wait-time is one of those strategies that takes time and practice to master.Wait-time requires a dedication to letting students think for themselves and use their own brain to solve problems. It isn’t a magic bullet or strategy that you can do once a year and then move on, but it can seem magical when implemented consistently-as it shifts the responsibility from teacher to student.

Another benefit…wait-time is FREE! You don’t need approval and it doesn’t have be written into your lesson plan. All it takes is you, a few good questions, and an internal timer.

I have gathered up all my favorite wait-time resources and links, these are the ones that I would want to share with Ferris’ teacher, if he were real!

  • Teach Like a Champion Blog: This is a lot of greatness in one spot! Detailed Strategy, classroom video & a debrief in the blog!
  • Teaching Channel: Get Back to Me: This video and the resources that go with it feature a 1 minute video of a dialogue between a teacher and her students. Lots of greatness packed into a tiny amount of time!
  • Your Secret Weapon: Wait Time-This strategy  is shared by TeacherVision and offers several additional tips to get you thinking about how this might look in your classroom.

Thanks for taking this quick trip into the mind of PL Director…I would love to hear which teaching stars you would like to see show up in this series!!

Still Learning…