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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Teach Well: Deepen the Conversation and Effect

Too often, in schools, we stay satisfied with a surface level of professional learning, collaboration, and share. We spend lots of minutes on simple questions and share rather than going deep with substantial study and effect. I was reminded of that recently when an instructor spent many minutes reminding the team of a simple teaching fact, one that most, if not all, the educators in the group were keenly aware of. The time would have been much better spent with a deeper, more meaningful, collaborative activity and discussion, the kind of work that truly elevates and connects a team of dedicated educators.

Too often, the effort that goes into professional learning and conversation is not given the time or attention it deserves. People don't think deeply or hard enough about who educators are and what they truly need to develop their craft. No instructor, mentor, coach, or leader should begin by assuming he/she knows the educators within his/her charge, instead all teaching should begin with knowing your "students," or the people you lead with leading questions such as the following: Who are they? What have their experiences been like? What do they want to learn? How can we best work together, support one another?

As educators, the same is true for our work with students. We can never assume that we know a child's needs, interests, and knowledge. Instead we have learn about the children we teach with an open mind. Rather than project, we have to ask lots of questions and engage in activities to learn about these students so we can teach them well.

The opportunity today to deepen the conversation and effect with regard to teaching and learning is incredible. The first step is to make a commitment to contribute to this potential with the work and share that you do.