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Sunday, April 02, 2017

What Matters When Teaching Children Well

As I think about impossible and troubling expectations, I'm prompted to think about what truly matters when it comes to teaching children well.

Positive Caring Educators
It's imperative that educators are positive and caring. If there are mandates, expectations, and directives that are preventing that positivity and care, educators have to steer clear of those. On Friday a troubling expectation made me very upset, and that affected my ability to be a positive, caring teacher since I was worried about the expectation. More than anything we do as educators it's imperative that we retain our ability to be positive and caring.

Kind Effective Coaching
It's imperative that we coach students ahead with kindness and effective practice. Students are interested in learning, and when we can help them learn in ways that matter, they respond with strength. We need to make the time in our days for effective individual, small group, and whole class coaching.

Engaging Meaningful Learning Experiences
We have to lobby for the time and support we need to foster engaging learning experiences. Good learning experiences require related materials, time for planning/preparation, and ample time for the learning path including essential questions, goals, exploration, teaching, practice, assessment, reflection, and revision.

"Home Away From Home" Learning Environments
Educators have to take a lesson from companies like Google who have created user-friendly work environments that are comfortable, cozy, healthy, inspiring, and welcoming. To create these kinds of learning environments requires support from administrators who often hold the key to purchasing decisions--decisions that may or may not include educator voice or choice.

Well Informed
Educators need to continually learn in order to do their jobs well. The more that educators can learn the important information, concept, and processes related to their area of instruction and coaching, the better they'll be able to inspire, guide, lead, and teach their students.

Honest Open Transparent Collaboration and Share
Dynamic collaboration energizes and promotes positive, successful learning communities. When information is hidden, exclusive, and limited, the entire learning community suffers, yet when educators have the opportunity to share their knowledge, skill, ideas, stories and efforts on a regular basis, the learning community is empowered with wonderful ideas and practice.

There's so much that we can do to foster dynamic, positive learning communities--the kinds of communities that rich and transformative for children, families, and educators.

It's important for educators to come together in solidarity to speak out against practices that confront and limit the essential criteria above. I'm not sure why efforts continue to exist that limit collaboration, share, welcoming environments, meaningful learning experiences, kind coaching, and positivity, but we know that happens, and it's essential that we work together with care and compassion to eliminate that. Onward.