Friday, September 25, 2015

Shared Teaching: New Model New Mindset

A new model of teaching and learning requires a new mindset. This has not been a challenge for the teaching team since we've been orchestrating the model for several months now, and it's running the way we expected.

A new model however has a trickle down affect. When it used to be that you thought of one class and one teacher, you now have to think of all the students with a collaborating teaching team. Hence, we're not talking about "your students" or "mine," instead we're much more focused on everyone's students and how we can bend and shift the structure to accommodate all learners. This is a very positive approach because we can connect, synthesize, and differentiate our teaching strengths to meet the many needs and interests a class has to offer.

There have been many other positive aspects to the new model including the following:
  • Students don't compare teachers with one another since they all have all teachers. There's not talk about students or parents about your class vs. my class as everyone shares in the same program.
  • There's less worry about transitions because the transitions are natural as students move from one class to another.
  • Teachers don't extend lessons way past the point of comfort or interest because we're on a good schedule of nicely timed periods of learning and instruction.
  • Unlike model where students simply shift from class to class we have theme days and response to intervention blocks which utilize flexible grouping and teacher assignments so that everyone is getting a time to work in varied groups--groups that vary in size, focus, and strategy. These groups are flexible and change about every four to six weeks or as needed.
  • Another plus is that each teacher is able to spend more time digging in deep to the curriculum area that he or she is most responsible for. In that respect, I have more time to focus on the best ways to teach math to students and more time to spend on research and lesson design in that area which is valuable.
Hence, on this Friday afternoon, during week four of the school year, I can say that we're off to a terrific start.  Next week is essentially a math assessment week and a STEAM celebration week since we've scheduled our Cardboard Challenge Arcade for Friday (weather permitting). Now it's time for the weekend!