“Confessions of a Great STAR Teacher”

Jul 26, 2013 by


Thus determined  a great Star Teacher by demonstrating the teaching skills researched by Dr. Martin Haberman, Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, University Of Wisconsin, Milwaukee  (1932- 2012)


Dr. Robert Rose
Radio Host San Bernardino, CA
Rewiring Your Brain


Finally.Teachers are not going to talk,talk, talk, but instead will be interacting with individual students, small groups, and students will be discussing and studying together with teacher guidance as necessary. This is happening because laptops will be used by every student. This will enable individualization like never before possible. It gives power to the students. Pairing, grouping, projects will give power to the entire class. It gives power to the teacher since she will more easily find students’ interests, give them the chance to follow them, and not spend the bulk of her time forcing them to learn.This type of teaching is based on Self Organizing Systems (SOS), which except for humans, is how most animals, plants, and the micro and macro world function.

Mainly only humans have created the Command and Control systems in every social institution based on hierarchies of power emanating from the top – a chief, boss, king, dictator, pope or president. These hierarchies (Education Czar) seldom give up their power and it is maintained by the number of others below them that get their delegated power from the ones above. Therefore, teachers who are on the lowest rung, have been forced to follow whatever their “superiors” see as their job. It was somewhat effective until scientific evidence freed us from beliefs about human potentialities and social movements successfully fought for individual and group rights.

Now we have what could be a revolution in education based on individual freedom, abilities, and personal responsibility or to become another “fad” doomed to failure.

My concern is the structure of schools hierarchies means the “superiors” are still going to be legally in charge and whatever they don’t understand or don’t like will cripple the SOS of the classrooms’ abilities to function without fear and interference. The teachers will not be able to make too many mistakes and learn from them and make adjustments to be more effective before a “boss” is interfering, writing them up, and most teachers will cave under the pressure.

Students given freedom they’ve never had will abuse it. (I began experimenting with SOS in 1962 and had it working successfully in the mid-Seventies.) Every year a few to many pushed the boundaries. Most didn’t because I prepared them by giving them the freedom to choose where they sat and with whom. They made the classroom rules and consequences with me. Even a student court further insured justice would be served. I spent time developing a relationship with each as well as individualizing decades before there were computers or enough materials. The students HELPED me – as did their appreciative parents. It would be easier now.

It was a Pandora’s Box. Once I shared freedom, the students were changed. There was no going back for most. I did watch as some of the traditional teachers they went to the next year managed to kill their excitement, creativity, and belief in themselves. This is what will begin to happen as teachers will discover that encouraging students to think for themselves, to express themselves then they can NOT be handled by coercion or persuasion, which are the methodologies of schools. Teachers will revert to their old ways. It needs to begin with Star Teachers and spread naturally..

Dr.Martin Haberman (developer of the Teacher Corps) discussed with me his concept of what a Star Teacher is. After interviewing 5,000 of what administrators said were their best teachers he stated there were 12 characteristics they all shared. His books STAR TEACHER and TEACHER TALK, seen at.habermanfoundation.org ,would be helpful for teachers to see whether they had these characteristics – or could learn them.

Not going to happen. Instead of letting teachers volunteer who were willing to learn the pitfalls and difficulties of an SOS, everyone in a district will be forced (as usual) to be trained. By whom? How many teachers or administrators have ever been given (or taken) the freedom to learn the hard way how to develop responsible, responsive, creative students who can learn and think for themselves in an SOS?

There were times, even days in class when my students had no need for my services and I just roamed around and listened as they taught each other. It didn’t just happen, I had done the reading, research, experimented, failed, and learned from my mistakes until my successes became more common. Some observers didn’t see this as “teaching.”

My students joy, laughter, happiness, successes, and excitement, I was privileged to share. It is the way to teach in a democratic society!

Robert Rose, Ph.D. author THE COMPLETE TEACHER.

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