Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Teach Well: Slow it Down

I watched an exemplary colleague lead a group of approximately 50 children masterfully. The children were happy, engaged, and collaborative. There was no disruption, rude comments, or inappropriate behavior. I have observed this colleague over many years, and this year I took an extra deep look at what she does.

I noticed that she speaks slowly and chooses her words carefully. She doesn't over-talk or talk too fast. This calms children down whereas too fast and too much talking makes children anxious. This teacher is always prepared and her lessons are wonderfully engaging and student-centered. There's lots of active learning.

Next year I want to better employ the way this educator uses language, and I also want to make the initial investigations simpler. Sometimes I believe that I have started lessons with a too-difficult start which makes many students nervous and anxious whereas if I start with a simple task and scaffold the follow-up tasks, there will be a more even growth/challenge opportunity. Starting with a fairly easy and engaging task gives students confidence and a sense of accomplishment. This is a good way to begin.

Apt lesson choreography is integral to good teaching. As educators we are always learning and improving our craft. I'm sure I'll think of other ways to improve my teaching/learning practice during the summer study months--rich months of reflection, reading, research, and study. Onward.