Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Welcome to our Classroom


What happens in your classroom?

We all know that the most important thing is for our students to learn.

But what does that look like?

Is it test scores?
Is it levels of engagement?
Is it checking for understanding?
Is it the questions you are asked?

What is learning? How does it happen? Who promotes it?

For me, the most important indicator in my classroom was engagement. The students were interested. They were curious about finding out more. They were asking questions and looking for answers. They were working with each other.

It wasn't about the test score. Not everything we learn can be 'tested'.

The questions that's been bugging me for a while now is this.

If we are being told, so specifically what to teach, where is our professional judgement? How can we make sure our students are learning? Why aren't we allowed to tailor the learning - while meeting the learning outcomes in the curriculum - to our students?

I have had one opportunity in my career to teach the same unit to two classes at the same time. But I quickly found out that the way I taught the first class, was not what was needed for the second group. I had to dramatically differentiate my pedagogy to meet their learning needs. And guess what. That's what I am supposed to do.

If one test has become so important, to the extent that our focus has to be about that and that only, how are we going to keep our students engaged and interested.

I fear that we are going to pump out kids on a conveyor belt who aren't interested in learning, because they lost their love for it when it was taken over by other things.

We can't let our classes be places where students are not engaged, interested, asking questions, working in teams and curious. These are lifelong learning skills that they will need well beyond their time in school.

Teachers in schools are finding their way around the rules and regulations to make sure that their students learn and I can only wish my colleagues all the best as they do it. We have to keep our students wanting to learn. Otherwise our society will suffer for it.

This poster was made in Stampin Up's My Digital Studios using DSP Storytime 29 and Embellishments Back to School - blank note and mixed ribbon. The font used is KG Next to Me Sketched.

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