If We Expect Educators to . . .
Educators are given a lot of suggestions about how to improve their classroom practices, but as we know, change needs to begin with oneself. I’ve heard a lot of such suggestions at recent education conferences – SXSWedu, ASCD, and DML2013 – but the missing piece is that these changes need to begin with the educators, themselves, with expectations, tools, strategies, time (for collaboration and reflection) to do so. What follows are my ideas related to how it can begin with the teacher – please add to the list if you have any others.
If we expect educators to help learners formulate good questions, we need to permit and encourage them to ask their own hard questions about their own practices, content area knowledge, and pedagogical beliefs.
If we expect educators to integrate technology into their classrooms, we need to give them the brainstorming time, strategies, tools, and training to play, tinker, and engage with technology.
If we want educators to come up with some really great ways to improve their classrooms, we need to give them innovation days with great food, beverages, and comfy bean bag chairs. (Mrs. Walf)
If we want educators to use cooperative learning strategies with their students, we need to give them the strategies and time to work with their colleagues.
If we expect educators to move beyond textbook lesson plans, we need to encourage and show them how to open-source their best lessons online, allowing peer to peer and bottom up sharing of best practices. (Kevin Miklasz)
If we expect educators to assist students in becoming self directed learners, we need to give them autonomy to create and direct their own learning journeys.
If we expect educators to embrace the growth mindset and encourage learners to be free to openly make mistakes and learn from them, we need to create schools that reflect a growth mindset in their culture, expectations, and requirements. (Joan Young)
If we want educators to develop their own professional learning communities, we need to tear down the walled gardens of the school to enable them to connect with other educators.
If we want educators to encourage creativity and innovation, we need to remove the literal and metaphorical classroom, testing, curriculum, standards-driven walls.
If we want teachers to be lifelong learners, we need to start this process with the expectancy they will be so when they are themselves young students.
If we want educators to create magic in their classrooms, we need to give them the encouragement and permission to develop and use their own unique magic wands and pixie dust.