Thursday, November 13, 2014

Teaching/Learning: Are You on Track?

How do you determine if you're on track with teaching and learning?

How do you know if you're staying current, moving ahead, or losing pace with current technology, craft, and endeavor?

What do you notice in your close and distant teaching/learning spheres with regard to change, new research, and direction?

These are important questions in the education landscape today?

As I think about those questions, I recognize the following:

Learning to Learn
It seems like our learning community is on track with regard to coaching apt mindsets and behaviors for dynamic learning. We're talking, reading, trying out, assessing, and sharing ideas in this regard.

Learning Design
Many are moving ahead in this regard. Lots of great learning experiences are in place. We're talking about this, sharing, and trying out new ideas.

Schedules and Structures
We seem to breaking down the classroom walls with greater attention to the spaces, furniture, and schedules students need to succeed. There's an openness and acknowledgement related to this that is bringing about positive change.

Our curriculum continues to change to meet latest research and State, system, and national objectives. There is lots of talk of integration and blended learning. This is good.

Holistic Education
Educators and community members continue to support a focus on the whole child with their support of the arts, wellness, playgrounds, community events and more.

We've got the tools, and that's awesome. Educators continue to represent a continuum from lots of experience and understanding to less, so there's a continued need for differentiated professional development. It would also be great to close the gap in time and access between new tools and use. Currently that takes time, and the time distances students and educators from what's possible in the ever changing landscape of tech-integrated education.

Communication systems continue to change and more and more are embracing regular systems of share to keep all informed and up-to-date with the unfolding story of school life, objectives, and learning.

School Climate
It seems to me that new teachers are bringing a more people-centered, holistic, joyful attitude and affect to schools. They've got a spirited energy and enthusiasm that's contagious. This is a change from the sometimes too serious climate of the past. As a serious, veteran teacher this marks a needed shift for me, one I'm learning about and applying in ways that match my ethics and values with respect to teaching well.

Service Learning
Our school's focus on this area of school life has brought relevance and meaning to learning--this is a terrific focus with endless connections and possibilities for learning in empowering and engaging ways.

Healthy Food and Activity
Focus on healthy food and activity has created a playful, healthy, happy environment where students are more ready to learn.

Structures such as PLCs and RTI have fostered greater collaboration and collaboration is bringing about a greater sense of team and collective effort. The idea share in this regard is terrific.

There's room in schools to adopt more efficient and productive process with regard to many efforts such as professional development, purchasing, idea share, information share, and more. Greater attention to system-think can improve school culture and effect.

Role Definition
Roles, in many cases, seem to be morphing and changing. Greater definition is beginning to occur and titles are starting to change to reflect new schools rather than the old "factory-style" schools.

The classroom STEAM center continues to develop. Efforts also continue to grow in this regard. I have to beef up my own science learning, invention, and understanding, and I have to collect more sophisticated science supplies for the center. We've written a few grants to help us with this and hopefully these will result in increased supplies and support for this learning/teaching.

There are so many pieces involved in the puzzle we call school. These are a few assessments from my lens as a classroom teacher?  Are you and your school on track with regard to promising change and evolution with regard to service to students? In what directions can you move to strengthen your path.

Personally, my focus is on the teaching/learning environment, learning design, relationships with students, and staying on top of related research and practice. A daily effort to read, reflect, design, collaborate, and create will help me to stay on track? What is your "on track" routine and focus? How would you assess your efforts to date?