By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
There are some things teachers can learn, like planning backward.
Planning backward means taking the point of a lesson and then finding ways to work up to it in ways that engage and ignite students’ parts in the learning process. In Jim Taylor’s McNary High School jazz history class, he’s elaborating on the history of the word “jazz,” but he tells the students it’s actually a story about S-E-X.
He starts with Africa’s griots, nomadic, storytelling musicians who operated as both entertainers and the newsmen among African tribes. Taylor knows more than a little about this way of life.
He was a teacher before arriving at McNary High School’s choir program as its director, but there was never much doubt about where his career would take him.
“My mom and dad were both teachers, uncles, aunts, almost everyone was a teacher or worked at a school. We call family reunions faculty meetings,” Taylor said.
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