Teaching Students to "Unplug" and Think Critically
Today’s educators face unique challenges in a world driven by lightning-fast technology, information and misinformation. This panel highlights educators who are working to help students decode the barrage of messages they receive each day. Using innovative critical thinking models, asking kids to “unplug,” showing them how to speak and listen to each other in a respectful manner, and discussing unspeakable atrocities like the Holocaust, are some of the strategies used by these panelists to teach tolerance and learn productive problem-solving techniques.
Kim Lavin, Special Education Teacher, Valley Middle School
Michael T. Skomba, Social Studies Teacher, Somerville High School
Jennifer Neu, Special Education Teacher, Tulsa Trail Elementary School
Franklin Stebbins, Teacher, Special Education & Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Arthur L. Johnson High School
"Welcome to Caucus, I'm Steve Adubato. Today, we are celebrating educational accidents with four absolutely terrific teachers in the state of New Jersey. Here in our studio to discuss what it really takes to be a great teacher, we have Kim Lavin, who is a special education teacher at Valley View middle school. Michael Scomba, rhymes with? Mamba. Just checking... Social studies teacher at Somerville High School. Franklin Stebbins, special education and Holocaust and genocide studies teacher at Arthur Johnson High School which is where? In Clark. In Clark New Jersey. And finally, Jennifer Neu, special education teacher in Tulsa Trail Elementary School which is? In Hopatcong. It's not a Quiz, I'm just checking. Just making sure. True. We've been... we've been having a good time joking before we got on the air, but teaching is serious business, is it not? We were just talking to Wanda Swanson about Classroom Close-up partners with the NJEA for many many years, Wanda has been producing that great show... we were talking in that segment and we have four kids who have been impacted in so many positive ways by public school teachers... do you ever say to yourself "we change lives every single day and we have such a massive impact on these young people." Do you say it yourself? Yeah, I think that that's a very true statement. Right, you essentially have the next generation of leaders in your hands, right? What you do every day, day in and day out is gonna affect them, right? So, you really have to make sure that you're giving this job your all at all times. How long you been doing it? This is gonna be my ninth year coming up. How many years? Going into my 17th year. How many years? Going into year number 18. 18 and...? 36 years. I'm sorry... [laughter] 36. Biggest change from your perspective? I'm connect... when it comes to connecting, engaging - a big big word of mine - engaging students today in a classroom, versus just say 10 years ago? I honestly would say it's technology. It's the biggest change that I've seen. And part of me as a teacher says that's great. The other part..."