Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What makes a Classroom Work? the 21st Century

As a teacher who retired as an elementary school principal, I have had the opportunity to look around and listen to educators everywhere. I have also visited classrooms…many classrooms….and seen those that are working and those that are not. For many years, I have been puzzled and have attempted to put in writing what “works.” I am defining this not only as what works for kids, but also what works for educators and parents.

It is a sad time for public education. The workload of school personnel has increased dramatically, as we add and add to responsibilities of the classroom teacher, leaving little time for reflection. Just as we add new strategies and techniques, we need to help teachers understand what they can let go. All of this requires time….something that is not present in the “180-day six-hour workday.” Schools need to set aside time to answer these questions:

Are we reaching our students – are they engaged?

Are we doing important work or just covering stuff?

What new strategies and techniques do we need to integrate into the curriculum?

What can we “teach less of?”

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