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Lesson: Leaves Season: Winter

Action/Dialogue Action: Instructor arrives five minutes late.

Dialogue: “Sorry I’m late. Today we are going to learn about leaves and things. Let’s meet outside in five minutes, and we will begin the lesson. I do want you to take notes.”

Action: The “instructor” arrives outdoors with shirt halfway tucked in, a wide brimmed hat pulled down over the eyes, and wearing a pair of dark sunglasses. S/he is not looking at the students and is complaining on a cell phone about having to teach the class before going out later that day. The instructor is not dressed properly for the season – no layers of clothing or coat. The instructor carries a stack of materials − papers, a portable whiteboard, binoculars, a field guide, and a few random items that have nothing to do with the lesson. The instructor scatters these materials on the ground as the group wanders over. The instructor holds a Styrofoam cup filled with coffee and positions herself/himself so that the class is looking directly into the sun. S/he finishes the cup of coffee and tosses the cup on the ground.

Dialogue: “As we stand in this beautiful field, I want you to think about leaves. Leaves are very important. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. I wish I had some better examples of leaves to show you but if you look over there at the edge of the field, you can see some leaves still hanging off the trees.”

Action: The instructor steps up to a small knoll and looks through the group’s only set of binoculars at the silhouette of trees about 30 meters away.

Dialogue: “Those are leaves. Though we don’t really have a lot of leaves to look at up close, I can draw a cross-section for us to talk about.”

Action: The instructor draws a very crude cross-section of a leaf on her/his portable whiteboard – essentially just two horizontal lines representing the upper and lower boundary of the leaf. The instructor’s mouth is covered, and s/he speeds up the pace while speaking in a monotone voice.

Dialogue: “The leaf has a bunch of layers, including some cells and tissues. There are some parenchyma, stomata, guard cells, epidermis, and other stuff.”

Action: While the group is standing in no particular arrange- ment, the instructor sits on the ground in the only Crazy Creek chair available and continues to ramble on about leaves.

Dialogue: “Leaves are important because of the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is how plants make food. It’s like Walt Whitman said in ‘Leaves of Grass.’”

Action: A student raises her hand to ask a question, but the instructor fails to acknowledge her.

Page 28 Mistakes Illustrated • Showed unprofessional behavior by being late to class

• Did not specify a meeting place • Offered only a general topic-gave no specifics or goals • Did not check in to see if the group was wearing the proper clothing to go outdoors

• Showed no concern for comfort or safety

• Had an unprofessional appearance and behavior • Showed no eye contact • Appeared disorganized • Was not properly prepared for an outdoor lesson • Brought several items that had nothing to do with the lesson

• Used an ineffective orientation and position with the class

• Modeled poor environmental behavior

• Provided no introduction to the lesson • Gave no specific goals • Sounded disorganized • Did not check to discover the students’ prior knowledge

• Did not have equipment for the entire group to use.

• Acted condescending toward the group • Provided no materials for the group to study

• Positioned hand over mouth • Spoke rapidly • Was boring and monotone • Positioned diagram so it was difficult to see and interpret

• Did not spell or define terms

• Did not arrange group in a way that would facilitate their hearing the lesson

• Behaved rudely

• Went off on tangents • Provided too much information for the amount of time • Provided no context for the quote

• Used topic-centered, rather than student-centered learning GREEN TEACHER 91

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