I Learned a Lesson from my iPod

I drive a really long way to work twice week.

I love what I do every day, which is why I choose to drive. To entertain myself I listen to a lot of podcasts. Radiolab, WireTap, and This American Life are favorites on the drive.

When I plugged the iPod into the stereo yesterday morning, it jumped to my entire song list at "A," and just started playing songs in order. Rather than stopping and going right to a podcast, I decided to let it play for a while. I listened to songs Friday morning that I didn't even realize were in my library (digital music overload, anyone?). It was pretty enjoyable and I heard some great music that I hadn't listened to since at least high school.

That being said, I switched away after a while because of how disjoined everything felt. Have you ever listened to an album from start to finish without interruption? If you haven't you really should. If a band is really thinking about their music, an album has a flow and a continuity that adds to the overall experience of their music. I found myself anticipating the next song on the album only to be disappointed (and sometimes even surprised) by the change of track.

It got me thinking about learning. Your class has a flow...a continuity that helps students travel through the content. Far too often as a teacher I heard, "Why is this important?" or, "When will this even matter?" In other words, I wasn't doing a great job at helping to mold the entire experience of science around the individual parts. I didn't have good segues or transitions at times. Other times, I jumped from one topic to another without any prelude, much like playing through your library alphabetically.

Think about how you're interacting with your students. How do you transition? How are you painting the story of your content? Why should they anticipate the next step or reflect on where they just came from? Think about teaching as a story.

If you're looking for a fantastic album to listen to start to finish, consider Bon Iver as a place to start.

One thought on “I Learned a Lesson from my iPod

  1. Laura says:

    Mr. Bennett,
    I am a college student in southern Alabama. I am actually required to read your blog as part of a class here (EDM310). I really appreciate how you brought this up. I’ve spent a great deal of my time imagining my ideal classroom, the subject I would teach and the way I would present it. After reading your blog, I can add “transitions” to that list. You’re absolutely right. I reflected on all my favorite high school classes and they all seemed to crescendo. I don’t think I ever thought “why do I have to know this?” once in those classes.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Laura, University of South Alabama student

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