You can find many resources about Anticipatory Sets (a.k.a. “hooks”) from credible online sources, including RESEARCH and EXAMPLES. Check them out, then TRY some out!
When applied effectively, anticipatory sets are powerful both in terms of supporting classroom management (routines and procedures) AND through enhancing instructional interactions (rapport, rigor, and relevance). The key is that qualifier: “When applied effectively . . .”
John Maresca, from Grand Canyon University, describes this issue in further detail:
“Many anticipatory sets miss the point. Simply telling students what they’re learning that day won’t interest them (unless the topic itself is that exciting to them); it’s best to think of a strategy that encourages engagement . . .”
Here’s a nifty video that provides more ideas and suggestions:
Teachers, what are YOUR best ways to engage students and catalyze learning?
Maybe you call it something other than a teaser, anticipatory set or hook. What are your most impactful strategies or examples?
Speaking of TEASERS and ANTICIPATION, look for many more posts in the future about my upcoming BOOK, Teaching Is for Superheroes!
Still, a lot has been said already about Kang (and actor Jonathan Majors), with his introduction as the next major antagonist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’re talking Thanos-level malevolence here.
Understandably, people want to chat about Kang the Conqueror–his backstory in the comics, potential connections to MCU shows and films, his powers and motivations, and much more. But we won’t dive too deeply here, to avoid any spoiler territory. (If you’re curious, click on any of the links in this paragraph and speculate away.)
All this talk about the next new villain got me thinking about teaching. If teachers are like superheroes, then who plays the “villain” role?
Who is YOUR archenemy?
Or at the least, who’s your rival?
Or maybe just someone who bugs you. Whether they know it or not, sometimes this person drives you nuts.
To help reflect on educational antagonists, look at classic superhero/villain pairings.
Sometimes they are complete opposites. Superman is super-strong and a “boy scout.” Lex Luthor is super-smart and a malicious “man-child.” Or contrast the stoic, calculating Batman with the crazy, maniacal Joker.
Archenemies can also be too much alike. Their mutual strengths create immediate conflict. Think of Wolverine and Sabretooth, both with claws, feral fighting skills, and healing factors. Or consider the intellectual enmity between Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Doom.
Another source of friction is a fundamental difference in ideology. Professor X seeks peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans, whereas Magneto prefers violent uprising and mutant dominance, no matter the cost. Captain America and Red Skull epitomize the Allies vs. Axis sides of World War II.
Remember, these examples are fiction. Superhero/villain matchups are mere illustrations for the types of conflict that can occur between two real people. I sincerely hope any opposition in schools is much less vindictive and destructive.
As teachers, we should use moments of disagreement as opportunities to model healthy communication and compromise. Remember, your students are watching!
That said, something (or someone) that is unethical or illegal should NOT win.
I remember a high school principal explaining one experience he had where “win-win” was not a viable option. Their school building was facing increased pressure and influence from violent gang activity. This principal shared how their school staff, students, families, and community banded together to find a “win-lose” solution: they were going to win; the gangs were going to lose (and leave).
Hopefully, the day-to-day conflicts and friction teachers experience are not as dire. And in any case, we can focus on productive (and creative) outcomes, with student learning and growth as the ultimate goal.
Here are just two resources for working with others (including those you can’t stand):
Now we’re back with another teacher tip from everyone’s favorite Australian nice guy actor playing everyone’s favorite Canadian grumpy mutant hero.
(Quite the difference in personality there. I guess that’s why they call it “acting.”)
Let’s talk about one more difference between Hugh Jackman and Wolverine.
In the comics, Wolverine is stocky and short, with a height of 5′ 3″. In reality, Hugh Jackman is 6′ 2”.
It doesn’t take a math teacher to quickly figure out that’s a difference of 11 inches–almost one whole foot in length. (Or 27.94 centimeters for those of you using the metric system–Canadians and Australians alike.)
So how did a tall actor first win the part of Wolverine?
(Remember, before Hugh Jackman got this role for the first X-Men movie, he was a relatively unknown actor. Check out this neat time capsule web announcement announcing–and decrying–the official casting waaaaaaaaaaay back in 1999.)
Recently, CNN’s Chris Wallace asked the actor this same question (or very similar, at least). Zip ahead to the 0:45 mark for the question and answer:
In his explanation, Hugh Jackman also gives an example of his behavior. It may look goofy to “stoop,” but it got him the part! (His thespian skills probably helped, too.)
A while back, I read the following sentence in a reflection paper by one of my future science teachers:
“As an educator, I need to remember that my first priority is to the student. I need to STOOP and listen.”
There was a typo. She meant “STOP and listen.”
Still, my first reaction was to write a snarky response like, “If you teach elementary kids, you certainly will need to stoop!” 🙂
The more I think of it, though, sometimes teachers DO need to STOOP. Not only when they stop and listen, but often when they interact with students. And not just with younger kids, but with all ages and grade levels.
There’s a whole bunch of research on “nonverbal behaviors,” those unspoken actions and mannerisms that occur during human interactions. Teachers can gain a lot of insight and application when they focus on such behaviors in the classroom.
But stop and think about what you actually look like when you teach. How is your eye contact? Your facial expressions? Hand gestures? Mannerisms and more?
And where are you compared to your students? The fancy name for this is “PROXIMITY.”
Proximity is not just the front of the classroom versus the back, or in between student desks (although such movement is important for many reasons).
Proximity also includes the posture and level at which you interact with students. Check out this quote from Sean Neill and Chris Caswell, authors of the book, Body Language for Competent Teachers:
“Leaning towards another person, whether sitting or standing, is an ‘intention movement;’ your intention, if you actually moved, would be to get closer to them . . . . Leaning away sends the opposite signal. Leaning over someone, or being higher than them, is dominant and potentially threatening because if you actually wanted to attack someone you could launch your attack better from above. Sitting or kneeling down to someone, at or below their level, is correspondingly non-threatening” (p. 11)
So I guess we now know why Wolverine is always hunched over, ready to strike.
And we also know why it’s important for teachers to STOOP. Not always, but definitely when working with students in small groups or one-on-one. Leaning and learning–literally at “their level”–conveys a collaborative spirit. We’re in this together to grow and get better!
And who knows? Maybe all this learning will help us become “the best there is at what we do.”
Unlike Wolverine, however, what teachers do–learning and teaching–is VERY nice!
Find more SUPER-teaching resources and strategies HERE or HERE!
Later this month – February 28, 2109, to be exact – a book is coming out that includes a chapter by Yours Truly. (Shamelessplugalert!)
In the previous post, I shared an overview of this book chapter featuring teaching approaches of the Flash (Wally West) and Max Mercury, and the impact on their student Impulse. For now, though, let’s turn out attention to time travel.
Bart Allen (Impulse) is a 30th century teen transported to late 20th century America. The featured Flash and Impulse comic book stories in my book chapter were published in the mid 1990s. But this isn’t the kind of time travel I want to discuss.
Let’s look at the timeline of academic publication, using my Flash book chapter:
April 2017 – I submitted proposal for book chapter.
July 2017 – Proposal accepted.
November 2017 – Chapter manuscript submitted.
February 2019 – Book published.
Altogether, the process from proposal to publication is nearly TWO YEARS. And this isn’t even counting the original call for submissions, formulating my idea, doing the research (reading, looking up, reading, collecting data, reading, analyzing data, etc.), as well as the actual WRITING of the 25+ page first draft.
Two years from proposal to publication is actually about typical for most printed books. (That’s why it’s tricky for a writer to chase trends; by the time anything gets published there’s a new fad taking the world by storm.)
But to be honest, I had to stop and look up some of the above dates in my records. If you had asked me before, I probably would’ve thought the time period was much quicker. Time flies when you’re having fun (i.e. doing scholarly research with comic books).
Teachers also experience interesting time travel in their classroom work. And like publishing, the educational process can stretch along with many delays. A recent article on Edutopia talks about the long-term impact of teaching. Here is how it summarizes the featured research:
Teachers who help students improve noncognitive skills such as self-regulation raise their grades and likelihood of graduating from high school more than teachers who help them improve their standardized test scores do.
Later, the article addresses the predicament: Standardized tests don’t typically measure long-term teacher impact on things like self-regulation and other “noncognitive skills.”
Countless times, teachers reiterate that if something is important, you have to test it. Using reverse logic, we often assume that only the important things are on tests.
We can’t overlook those things that may be more difficult to assess or standardize. In the face of regular evaluation reports, teachers must keep the far future in view.
I would argue that these two outcomes – short-term test scores, long-term impact – are not mutually exclusive. Teachers can promote both at the same time, intertwined together.
Take publishing, for our ongoing analogy.
While this Flash book chapter has been moving toward publication, I’ve been busy working on other projects. Journal articles and conference presentations have faster turnaround times, and I’ve done both in the past few years.
Likewise, I have a new chapter in progress for the next “Ages of . . .” book. This one is about Marvel’s Black Panther.
My chapter deals with T’Challa’s demonstration of 21st Century Skills in defending Wakanda from the alien Skrulls’ Secret Invasion. If that sentence doesn’t excite you, maybe these comic book panels will . . .
So far, here is the timeline of my chapter:
May 2018 – Submitted chapter proposal.
August 2018 – Proposal accepted.
January 2019 – Submitted chapter manuscript.
??? – Publication???
Right now, I’m awaiting feedback and requests for revisions from the editor. After that should be official news of acceptance and publication. But I’m not holding my breath. It’ll happen eventually.
In the meantime, there are always more opportunities to learn, write, research, and share. And enjoy the future possibilities!