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Monday, September 05, 2016

Separating the Problem from the Intent

Say it 100 times: Do what is best for children?

That should mostly be our mantra during all school discussions.

Once in a while due to personal circumstances, an educator may do what's best for himself or herself, but in general, the rule is to "do what is best for children."

Now when it comes to doing what's best for children, there are many different perspectives on that. What one educators thinks is best may differ from another educator's thoughts on the matter. This is why it's important to have time to collaborate and make decisions together.

I don't think any educator, however, will disagree with the following statements:
  • It's integral at the start of any school year to make time to build team and community by co-constructing the classroom with and for students.
  • Regular, inclusive, transparent communication helps to build a strong community.
  • Thoughtful, well-researched, planned, and "loose tight" focus and teaching of identified main knowledge, concept, and skill topics/standards set the stage for good learning and teaching.
  • Formal and informal assessment informs learning and teaching in ways that matter.
  • Student engagement and empowerment are critical elements to optimal learning and teaching.
  • Teaching and learning are organic activities that continually change and develop since teaching and learning respond to an ever changing world. 
Problems will arise during the teaching/learning year. It's best to stop and look deeply at the issues to find ways to remedy the situation now or for the future. For example we had a few equipment/physical plant snafus at the start of the year. The changes upset the routine as we have known it. What could we change so that this doesn't happen again? Simply communication about the specific details would have helped since unknown circumstances create worry. Also including educators in the decision making process in authentic ways may have also supported a better solution to the issues we faced. 

Instituting processes for discussion, debate, and development can help to keep our work focused on our intent to do what's best for children and to make changes so problems that arise don't happen again and are replaced by positive change and development.