Saturday, January 24, 2015

Lessons from 45 Years of Teaching that No one in Power Listens To

1. Teaching in one school for a long time and remaining in touch with your former students can be a very powerful asset to your current ones. Former students can be extremely helpful, sometimes with making classroom presentations, more often in advising students on research projects and helping them find employment.

2. Sometimes the most powerful events in a class take place when you throw away the script and let students talk from the heart about subjects which excite them or intrigue them. If you don't leave room for those moments, you miss an opportunity for students to get emotionally connected to the material and experience their own power to launch new ideas.

3. Any time you can use the arts to enhance understanding of a subject, do it. Having students write songs or poems, perform plays, make films are all ways of bringing material to life. Give students that option whenever possible. And don't hesitate to use music, film and video in your daily instructional routine.

4. Whenever possible, give students the option of substituting independent projects for standardized or even in class exams. Some students thrive when given research projects; others would rather have a test on a fixed body of material. If you give them both options, the quality of work, and the level of engagement, is likely to be higher than when you have a one size fits all assessment.

Do you think that these instructional strategies make sense?

If so, just compare them with what teachers are now asked to do.

And weep.