I keep coming across educators who think like I do, and while this isn’t unusual it does echo a pattern that is apparent in education right now. Patterns are cool; I don’t mean clothes. I mean the patterns you observe and then reason out, using critical thinking, why they exist and predict how they will play out. It is this prediction that creates a new path of learning that, once a person is aware of it, is powerful. It affirms for the person they are skilled in synthesizing information from what was not understood before. Enough of that head kind of talk.
Teachers as teacher just download information to kids. “Sage on the stage.”
How do you get away from the all knowing Wizard of Oz phenomena?
1. Stop thinking you are only there to teach, and the only who can teach. It is no secret, or should be no secret, that kids are outpacing teachers knowing technology. Learn from kids about what is up and coming, or about what tech they are using letting them to teach you.
2. Value every child for every reason even if they annoy you.
3. Realize you know less than what you think you do. When was the last time you researched your content area to read new information or new approaches to helping students learn your content? Are you up on current education trends?
4. PD yourself to death. Use Twitter. Learn about hashtags. Learn how to curate tweets. Learn who to follow & not to follow. Learn what you don’t know about and learn it.
5. Curate using RSS feeds using Google Reader, Feedly, or some other news aggregator to read up on blogs, sites, and more to stay current on what is going on in education, your content area, and the world.
6. Rearrange your classroom because learning spaces matter. Get desks out of rows, add soft spaces, and decentralize the learning focus from the SMARTboard, heaven forbid a chalkboard, to the students.
7. Ask engaging questions that spark interest and conversation. What if questions work well initially? Move onto more probing and critical thinking questions.
8. Status quo isn’t cool, change something even if it is the color of your underwear.
9. Collaborate with someone else using social media to brainstorm new ideas that push your thinking and from these conversations change yourself.
10. I think is the most important thing to do: reflect on your teaching. Reflect in a journal. Reflect in a blog. Reflect through discussion. Reflect in email. However you decide to do it, reflect because it creates new lines of thought and realization you didn’t have before.
The shift is to be teacher as coach and as a coach you are in control of how your kids learn. Coach from this century and not the last – be willing to change and willing to get uncomfortable. You cannot be teacher as downloader. Downloads come from another computer without thought. Coaches know their players, or students, and adapt teaching to students learning.
What will you change about how you look at and practice teaching?