The Muddler Hypothesis

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9 thoughts on “The Muddler Hypothesis”

  1. In addition to the ten-finger comprehension check, I need to train myself to ask slow enough: thumbs up or down.
    I never know how slow is slow enough. Can’t wait to get back on Tuesday and meet Spanish one for the first time in a few years and see what happens wih their brains.

  2. Love this! I’m processing my take-aways from NTPRS before school starts and SLOW was my first one. This gives me extra motivation to focus on it because I felt like I was given a chance at making it past the five year burn-out mark for new teachers when I found TPRS last year… but now there’s another five year mark to focus on even with TPRS.
    What is so magical/detrimental about the five year mark in education?

  3. In California at least, five years is the first time the credential must be renewed. I think the statistic “within the first five years” represents the number of teachers who do not renew their credential and have therefore left the public school (and probably the teaching profession).
    My first year in the public school was a nightmare. I am credentialed in German, World History and Music. I taught two Spanish classes, two different math classes and an ELD class. If I were not born to be a teacher, I almost certainly would have quit.

  4. The key to slow enough is comprehension checks.
    Not the hold up your fingers which tells the teacher a bit but not much.
    Instead, do a comprehension check about every 3 questions or so. Comprehension checks take one of these three forms:
    1. What did I just say?
    2. What did I just ask?
    3. What does ____ mean?
    Try it. You will then see EXACTLY where your kids are getting flummoxed. Most often it will be due to speed, proper nouns, or not getting the question word.
    Ciao,
    Susie

  5. Susie and Ben, may I re-post this comment so that I can find it again? Or Ben, could you please put it as a main post, or link it to both SLOW and a new category, “Comprehension Checks”?
    Thank you, thank you. It is what I needed to be reminded of. I think I finally get SLOW, thanks to the barometer teacher at NTPRS for whom I waited 3 seconds between words and then had such overwhelming, happy response from other students, who reported complete comprehension, when I thought they were going to be bored. Comprehension, as it turns out, is almost never boring. It is, instead, that delightful feeling of success.
    But in order to know what’s happening, I need to check comprehension in the way Susie recommends.
    Y’all rock!

    1. Yeah I’ll put it up here as a separate blog entry and create those categories. It’s funny, isn’t it, Michele, that we have to go to NTPRS and present to groups of 50 teachers to force us to go slowly enough – it’s like they are teachers checking out the method so we can’t lose any of them or they won’t grasp what we are dealing with here. But then we go back and risk going too fast for our own students! It was a great conference and here Susie clears up the entire thing about comprehension checks in one little comment – three little questions. I’m with you, we need to make this a blog post and thus be able to reference it via the categories and via the search function, which doesn’t happen with comments.

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