Teaching: The Cowboy way Presented by: Dr. Randy Esters
Where is Home: Louisiana Opportunity Education Home Sweet Home
Hobbies Sam , Preston, me and Rocky the Bluetick Coonhound
Southern words • Ya’ll – you all: everyone • Ya’ll want to learn something today? • Fixin - about to: preparing to do something • We are fixin to get started.
Goals of this presentation • To model effective strategies • Demonstrate parallels between cowboys and teachers • To give participants tools for teaching • To impart a little “cowboy wisdom” to each of you
What is a cowboy? • Men who tended the herd • Who were rough and tough • But reliable • Trustworthy • Respectful • Courageous • Sometimes, mean as a snake • Sometimes, gentle as a lamb
What is a Cowboy? • Wear long sleeves and a hat to protect them from the elements • Love what they love completely • If they have fear, they never show it • Say what they mean and mean what they say
Parallels to Teachers? • Teachers tend the children • We are rough and tough • But reliable • Trustworthy • Respectful • Courageous • Sometimes, mean as a snake • Sometimes, gentle as a lamb
Parallels to Teachers? • We do not have clothes to protect us from the elements but we develop ways to protect ourselves from the outside world • If we have fear we never show it • We say what we mean and mean what we say
Cowboy Wisdom Part 1 Strategies for Training a Cowboys’ Best Friend: The Horse
Disclaimer Children are NOT horses: This is an analogy not a comparison
Types of Horses The Show Horse: All show and no go
Don’t you wish this were all of them? OOOHHHH NO!!! there’s more
There are no Perfect Horses Discussion Ticket #1 – What is a “good” child
You must have trust and respect What are signs of horse trust and respect ? Child trust and respect ?
Finish with freedom and exploration Real world applications
Exaggerate to Teach • Over teach a concept or skill. Repetition and consistent lessons • Is the horse ready to learn the lesson: Is the lesson developmentally appropriate for the child
Short but intense lessons • Horse lessons shouldn’t last more than 5 seconds: Child lessons 1 minute for every year of life up to 18. • Lessons should have meaning • Lessons should be intense and intentional • Begin with the end in mind • Lessons must build on each other
Communicate exactly what you expect • The horse must clearly understand what you are asking it to do • People must understand the goal as well • You must have their full attention before you can communicate • You can not say one thing and demonstrate another • Fear and mistrust have bad results
Provide praise • All people want to be praised • Make certain the praise is specific and timely • Be generous but real Discussion Ticket 2 – talk to a friend and write down as many praise words as you can think of.
Horses give to pressure • You can not force a 500 KG horse to do ANYTHING! • Old cowboy saying “ you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” • The horse must want to be cooperative • The more you struggle against it the more resistant it will be • There is a difference in Breaking and Training
Horses have a dominant side • They will always point the dominant ear when the start to pay attention • It takes work to help them switch sides to be mounted if its not their natural side
Brain Dominance We should be right or left handed, legged, eyed and eared Our eyes and ears should follow the hand
Effect of Cross Dominance • Emotionality – easy to anger or thrill , slow to calm down • Cognitively controlled by stress – ie….blank out at test time • Remember trivial details but forgets the “big picture” • Disorganized – loses things easily. Great at getting things started , not good at seeing them through. • Usually an “idea” person • Many of us learn to compensate. It is simply more difficult to be structured
A horse must be moving to learn • You can not teach a lesson- other than to break its spirit – to a still horse • When you get it moving you must: • Know what you want it to know (state objectives) • Tell it that it is about to be given an action (prepare the learner) • Example: “you are going to prepare to stop when I shift forward” • Over teach the lesson • Stop and let it think about what it just learned (review and reflect) • How long should a lesson be?
Movement • Produces endorphins “natural mood enhancers” • Breaks up the lesson into chunks • Increases the capacity and number of blood vessels, allowing for the delivery of oxygen, water, and glucose to the brain • Uses “restless” energy
Horses like games • Horses and kids learn best when they think they are playing
Part 2 The Life of a Cowboy
Young cowboys learned by teaching • The old cowboys would show a youngster something then get them to teach each other. • They would practice together and help each other
Stories and songs • Cowboys used songs and stories to pass their history and experiences down because they were easy to remember • We can use stories and songs in the classroom.
Cowboys are self reliant • They make do with what they have • They are resourceful • They are tough
Cowboys are Special • They get the job done because the herd depends on them • They work or ride no matter the conditions
Cowboys are steady • They know what they believe in • They will stand up for what they think is right • They show up ready and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done
A cowboy rides for the brand • They are loyal to the ranch and the boss • They are loyal to their culture and way of life Educators must be loyal to their school and administration More importantly they must be loyal to education as the only path out of oppression!