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’09 TAGT: Educator Perspective by Gina Peddy

December 10, 2009

Comments from Gina Peddy and Coppell High School.

GT Conference

To begin with, I would like to thank CGA for providing me with the opportunity to hear some phenomenal guest speakers while attending NAGC. I have never had the pleasure of attending this conference, and it was truly a wonderful experience.

While I attended many good sessions, one of the sessions I particularly enjoyed was titled, “Using the Tools of Technology to Extend Professional Development for Teachers and Administrators.” This session was led by Jennifer Beasley from the University of Arkansas. This session provided professional development learning sites which will allow our teachers to incorporate more technology into their classrooms. She also provided an instructional toolkit to assist teachers. The websites she provided allowed teachers to be creative in the lesson planning, but it also provided enough structure so teachers who did not feel as comfortable using technology could try these lessons without feeling intimidated by the technology component.

Another session I attended was titled, “The Power of the Question: Inquiry in the Classroom” by Janice Burroughs. This lesson focused on questioning strategies. The presenter’s entire presentation focused on how the student’s should be the “learners” and the teachers need to learn to ask questions so that the student is the one learning. The questions should allow students to be creative but it should also demand students to support their position. As an administrator, I see many teachers who feel they need to provide all the learning for the students and the students should just sit back and “absorb” it. As we all know, this is not truly learning. Once we show students how to learn then the possibilities for success are endless.

Of course, Howard Gardner was fabulous.

Finally, I attended a session titled, “Stand and Deliver: Opportunities and Implications of the National Standards Movement” lead by Joyce Van Tassel-Baska. This session had three guest speakers (Ken James – America’s Choice); Gene Wilhoit (Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington, DC); and Chris Wright (Superintendent of Jefferson City, MO school district). This session was extremely enlightening. Apparently there is a national movement to create National Standards for all 50 states. We would do away with each state “doing their own thing” and would create standards that every student in the US would need to meet in order to graduate from high school. These standards would be high. During the course of the discussion, it was stated that we would need to “raise the ceiling as well as the floor simultaneously” which is an interesting concept. I am still unsure how I feel about this idea, but the discussion was definitely interesting.

Again, I appreciate this opportunity.

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