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As a new teacher I remember getting into my classroom for the first time. I set up the space like classrooms I had seen before and enjoyed; I got my lesson plans in are you interested dating service reviews order; packed the filing cabinets with resources; started to make copies of overhead slides; put together an area for reading and stacked the shelves with books I had picked up in college or from my parents house.
Then the students arrived, and all my plans went out the window. I realized very quickly that the type of teaching I had been exposed to and grew up with, and the type of teaching taught at many undergrad programs…was quickly becoming a past practice. That’s not to say many of the pedagogical and instructional strategies I learned don’t stick with me today (the good ones always will) but these students were different learners than I was…and at the time I was only 22 years old.
After teaching in a nice classroom of my own at the middle school I jumped up to the high school ranks and became a “floating” teacher. We had recently joined the “Classrooms of the Future” movement and every teacher in our district received a Macbook. Many teachers had a cart of 30 Macbooks in their classroom, and every room had a SmartBoard installed.
I taught in four separate classrooms and learned to digitally organize my classroom and instruction.
Flash forward eight years and the classrooms look very different in my same school district.
In the two years since my district began our 1:1 laptop initiative our classrooms have evolved once more. Throughout this process I have tried my best to stay on top of where education is headed and what are the emerging “next” practices. Now when I talk to teachers in my district and around the country, I try to focus on the key elements of innovative teaching. With technology, standards, and content continually changing…these “innovative commandments” give teachers a starting point regardless of their situation.
Commandment #1 might be the most important. I spent a lot of time as a teacher figuring out new ways to inspire and motivate my students. Sometimes it worked, but often I would fail to reach all of them. Not some “fake choice” assignment where they could pick one topic out of a box are you dating a player of topics…but REAL choice.
Students were inspired and motivated to learn by themselves…and by each other. And they did a much better job at inspiring then I ever could. Choice gives students the ability to go above and beyond our curricular limitations…try to give as much choice as possible and watch your students innovate.
Maybe this one should be re-labled “provide growth opportunities”. In fact, you should start promoting epic failures in your classroom.
Give a round of applause when students fail because now the learning can really begin. This doesn’t work too well with tests…but with projects it is great! If you create a culture where failure is not only accepted, but embraced…your students will not be afraid to challenge themselves.
Remember when learning was hard? You had to search the library, ask the right teacher, or find some type of adult of expert who had knowledge and ask for guidance. Today’s learners can find out what a professor at MIT thinks about the future of robots…and we have to be ok that his/her answer if most likely much better than ours ever would be. In the same fashion we have to model to our students where to find the “right answers” to their questions. Their learning mentor could be Google, Siri, YouTube, Udemy, Quora etc.
These sites and platforms can connect our learners to better information than we ever had, it would be a shame for us not to show them how to best use it!
I recently had a teacher ask me what I thought about Prezi.
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