Friday, April 24, 2015

Teaching is simple.........

Good teachers strive everyday for the same thing: We want to challenge our students so each one is able to reach his or her full potential. So how do we do that?

Well one way would be to make the tests harder so fewer students get 20/20. You could teach to the highest level student in the class and hope the rest of the class rise to the challenge. That's great teaching, right?

Many experts agree that the traditional model where the teacher delivers the content and the students take a test or quiz to demonstrate their learning, has become outdated, as the main teaching style in a unit.  It does not matter if those tests are tough and only a few students get all the answers correct or if the teacher uses a PowerPoint to deliver the content, the power of information changes everything.  We need to ask ourselves, is this traditional style of teaching still our goal? Is it still great teaching?

We need to consider the culture of teaching and learning and ask ourselves the question: What do we consider to be great teaching here in Westford? 

Alan November suggests in this video, that great teachers in the digital age:
  • Learn how to give students more responsibility for and control of their learning 
  • Show students how they learn themselves as a teacher  
  • Teach students to think critically on the Internet embedded in subject areas
  • Publish student work to a global audience
  • Give students purpose for learning (the purpose is not a grade)
I would suggest, that 21st century project-based learning and blended learning are two ways that we can use technology to support our goal of challenging all students.

Is this too 'pie in the sky' or is this achievable? 
Yes, I really think it is achievable! 

It will take time and the willingness to reflect on our culture of teaching and learning in the Westford Public Schools. The question is: Are we up for the challenge?

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