An F was the greatest thing that ever happened to one student

How an “F” Turned into the Greatest Thing that Happened to One Student

changing culture of teaching and learning Dr. MaryFriend Shepherd Carter

Can giving a failing grade ever benefit a student? Well, our guest Dr. MaryFriend Shepherd Carter shares an unbelievable but true story about something amazing (and a bit scary) that happened when she gave a failing grade to a college student who was pursuing a teaching degree. Dr. Carter also talks about the changing culture of teaching at the college and PK12 level.

If I had to pick a personal mentor who has taught me the most about teaching, it is Dr. Carter. Her kind demeanor and rock-solid knowledge of current educational research have made her one of my go-to researchers when I have questions relating everyday practice to research. I'm grateful for her mentorship and encouragement in my life. She changed my thinking about teaching as she taught me about teaching. She single-handedly convinced me that testing doesn't work and what does. Even better — I took the concepts she taught me back to my classroom and it worked. If you want to see my #1 teacher about teaching — here she is.

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Show Notes: Adapting to the Changing Culture of Teaching and Learning

  • How have students changed in the last ten years?
  • What are characteristics of successful college professors and K12 teachers?
  • How can an “F” can still mean success for a student?
  • How can you regain your classroom if you believe you are no longer relating to students?

Educator Resources from this Episode

  • @maryfriend
  • Dr. MaryFriend Shepherd Carter wrote a piece in my book Reinventing Writing on cooperation versus collaboration that is a must-read on this essential understanding in collaborative projects.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Maggie Goodlin March 8, 2016 - 7:27 pm

I found this very interesting as I am not really a classroom teacher at the current time, but I am studying to earn a Master of Online Teaching, and then I would want to teach online classes at a college or university on the topics I do daily at work such as MSOffice, SQL, Base SAS, HTML and CCS.
I really want to know that I can make students motivated either to want to be a good teacher or to recognized that this is not the career for them . . . I think this could be a good thing either way and I like know that teacher can change the life’s of their students.
I know that my life has changes a great deal since I first started going to college and earning all of my computer science degree. All of my learn has bought me to a wonderful like of learn and I can’t want to start sharing my knowledge with others.
Thanks for your great blog & video talk.

Stefanie March 10, 2016 - 5:57 pm

It was so great to hear this interview! I loved hearing Dr. Carter’s story! She is definitely a professor that understands the purpose of higher education. Unfortunately, I feel like she is in the minority.

What great advice… start by asking your students how they want to learn… engaging them in a conversation…

This is a huge first step is modelling the interpersonal skills that students need to be successful in our current society. Just like Dr. Carter says, we need to be developing THINKERS in higher education… not information regurgitating information. Thank you for your insight!

Vicki Davis March 13, 2016 - 1:40 pm

Dr. Carter is amazing! I am so glad you loved her story too! She is who I want to be!


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