- implementing a new curriculum
- 21st century teaching & learning
- building inclusive classrooms
- learning through inquiry
- project-based learning
- standards-based grading
- <insert something else you think you ‘have to do’>
Its about all of us getting our collective sh*t together and doing what people have known for decades about what works for learning.
Don’t get me wrong. The above are not bad things. As a matter of fact I think they are very good things. I’m not knocking “new” approaches. I’m just saying that they are not a new as we think they are and cautioning us to not get caught up with the latest ‘thing’ we are ‘doing’.
Whatever it is we are doing or feel we have to do, what is absolutely essential is that we the adult(s):
- care about our learners and know our learners
- plan and teach with all our learners in mind — especially those which are hardest to get to because this benefits everyone
- clarify and share learning goals and success criteria (ideally co-created) with our learners so they are able to monitor their own progress toward them* (and start a bit higher on Bloom’s taxonomy)
- promote the belief that ability is incremental rather than fixed*
- provide feedback that contains steps for future action*
- use every opportunity to transfer executive control of learning from the adult to the student*
And… if there is something that we need to know or know how to do to help our learners learn, then we need to get on our bikes and pedal hard to learn it ASAP. Because all our learners need us to know it.
*I liked the way Dylan Wiliam put these so I borrowed his wording from p.152 of Embedded Formative Assessment