- *Reflection: Meet the parents… where they are. Some of your challenging students come from challenging circumstances. As you get to know them, seek ways to meet their parents where they are. Do not let language barriers be barriers to communicating about the needs of the child, understand that different cultures have different ways: from attitudes about home/school boundaries to communication. Recognize the stresses on families living in poverty, when every day is survival mode. Learn about these in order to better meet the parents where they are. Remember your number one goal with parents: to facilitate communication so they can support their child, you, and the school. Meet them where they are. *Tip: Avoid using children as translators for non-English speaking parents.
“Real education should educate us out of self into something far finer–into a selflessness which links us with all humanity.” ~ Nancy Astor
- *Reflection: What sticks? Learning new information and concepts in isolation may be an exercise in futility. In order for students to make a permanent space in their memory and understanding, they need a concrete ‘anchor’ to attach the new information to. How will you facilitate students’ making connections between new and existing knowledge? How do you scaffold so they can build these bridges of meaning and construct new knowledge that will be anchored in memory and not ‘dumped’ after the test (burned in the brain)? Does metacognitive reflection help?
*Tip: In your lesson plan, add a few questions that will encourage students’ self-reflection: Why did we do this? What did you learn? How do you think you will use this tomorrow? Questions like these help students absorb the information and make the experience stick.
*Teaching for Meaning: Evidenced based practices • Problems that involve multiple solutions • Hands-on activities • Real-world problems • Project-based learning • Learning metacognitive skills • Service learning
“Were all instructors to realize that the quality of mental process, not the production of correct answers, is the measure of educative growth something hardly less than a revolution in teaching would be worked.”
― John Dewey, Democracy and Education
- *Reflection: Are you teaching information or facilitating learning? As we move toward new ideas and ideologies in education for the 21st century, we are re-evaluating priorities. At the top of the list is teaching kids how to learn, not just imparting information. In that regard, we are facilitators for students’ learning how to construct their own knowledge through guided discovery. This is very exciting! How do you facilitate in the classroom to support your students’ driving their own discovery and learning? How do you support their productive struggle and help them develop a growth mindset; and teach them to be prepared to be wrong??
“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.” ~ Nikos Kazantzakis