In preparation for the upcoming launch of #SVTBook chat, I was very fortunate to get a chance to catch up with Teacher/Author Matt Miller to discuss his book Ditch That Textbook. Join us every other Wednesday @ 8 (PST) starting September 21, 2016. Check out our conversation...
Why did you decide to write this book?
As a young teacher, I got lots of great advice, ideas and encouragement from teachers who were willing to share online. I grew a lot thanks to my virtual colleagues and the numerous blogs and social media posts I read. I’ve always felt a calling to help other teachers, to create resources and provide support, empowerment and encouragement to other educators. I also wanted to write something that would challenge the status quo and encourage teachers to rethink what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and why they’re doing it.
Looking at the title of the book, some people might assume that it is about throwing away adopted curriculum. Is that the intent? Can you explain the title?
This book is not encouraging throwing out adopted curriculum. That wouldn't help anybody. There are lots of ways to achieve curriculum goals. This book encourages teachers to find their own ways to do that. It’s named in part based on my own experience, finding that my textbooks and workbooks in my high school Spanish classes were standing in the way of helping my students learn and speak Spanish. In part, it gets its name because there are lots of “textbook” practices and “textbook” ways we look at in education that need ditched if we’re going to stay relevant to students and their future.
What is the premise of the book?
It’s broken into four parts:
What advice would you give for a teacher who would like to try the ideas in the book, but doesn’t know where to start?
I would encourage them the same way I do to teachers at workshops or conferences -- don’t try to do it all. If you can find one or two ideas that you can implement, start with those. Start with something you think you can do. Start with something that you’re excited about. Once you’ve got the hang of that (or are improving on it and are ready to try something else), then move on. Don’t feel like you have to implement everything or that meaningful change of your classroom has to happen overnight. That just isn’t reality. It takes time.