Great things happen in classrooms, in department planning, with school cultures, when we are willing to challenge ourselves.
Current students don’t get the ‘Day 23 Activity from the file cabinet’ because the teacher is willing to let go of an activity he/she feels good about and is willing to build a meaningful, personalized activity;
We are comfortable trying a new strategy or thinking because we are rethinking the term failure and embracing the real value of learning;
We renorm our priorities – we focus on learning outcomes, not grades or ranking. We rethink the value of 10 naked math problems for homework. We begin looking for opportunities for all students to demonstrate creativity and diligence;
[On the topic of grades] We are willing to embrace the fact mastery doesn’t come from an A on a test but from what students can explain and demonstrate masterfully;
We move from teacher centered practices to student centered practices;
We give up control. We want students to own their learning trajectory and have purposeful conversations about what they want their learning to entail;
We embrace empathy. It is important for a teacher to have a well functioning classroom, but developing student competencies and awarenesses in treating others with compassion, making amends and understanding social justice are new fundamentals. At one point, it was about students doing what the teacher says – we have to evolve, get students to think and act on complex issues and concepts to be truly better people and citizens.
Couple of challenges for you:
Write down a classroom practice or a general belief you have held for a good while and make a decision to do different. Ask someone you trust to help support you throughout this – the victory comes in the attempt;
Contact a PLN member who is doing something different and develop a thought partner. Then bring that thought to fruition;
Decide on trying something different in your classroom, school or department, set a launch date for a week from tomorrow and launch! Don’t make a lack of a specific resource hold you back.