As educators we are always searching for new and innovative ways to teach our students, but once in a while most of us find ourselves teaching in the same manner that we were taught, which in most cases were with strategies that were not effective. For example, when I attempted to learn new vocabulary words, my teachers used the traditional method of instruction of copying the list of words on Monday morning, defining the word, writing them in a sentence, looking for a synonym and antonym, and once in a while reading it in context. This was the procedure all too common throughout my educational experience. Amazingly enough, this practice is still implemented in our high school classrooms. I remember going through this process and memorizing the definitions for the exam on Friday. By the following Monday, that information was no longer in my memory. Yes, I did excellent on the exams, but I did not learn the vocabulary words. Why is such an ineffective method still used in today’s classrooms? As educators, we all know it is not as effective as we would like it to be, yet we still use it.
As I continue to present to teachers about Marzano’s Six Step Process for Teaching Academic Vocabulary, I am constantly finding myself frustrated with the fact they do not want to change their ways. I am currently reading up on Sheltered Instruction and there is a direct correlation between Marzano’s work and the strategies listed under Sheltered Instruction.
Why are teachers unwilling to change? Is it the fear of trying something different or is it arrogance and no one will tell them how to teach? These questions continue to haunt me to this day. I am a proponent for change. This is what we need in education, especially at the high school level. What is it going to take?