We are embarking on a journey at my school this year. Our district is working to revolutionize teaching and learning. 🙂 Our goal has always been to create lifelong learners and prepare our students for success in life beyond high school. However, because of our teacher-directed culture we haven’t always succeeded and its time for a change.
We are moving to a student centered learning environment, one where students do the hard work rather than simply listening and learning. This is a huge shift, and a really necessary one, for our students. It’s similar to the work we did in elementary schools when we moved from a basal reader to guided reading, personalizing the work our students are doing and meeting their individual needs.
Just like with that shift, it’s important that we all keep a grip on reality here. We are making this shift over a period of time – not all at once. It’s incredible when you start to see the impact on student learning, and their enthusiasm for what they are learning is contagious. While many of us want to go all in, straight from the start, changing everything and anything we do is not the best approach. Slowing down to master these new strategies is important so we are masters of the craft instead of trying all the things.
I struggle with this. I want to do ALL THE THINGS! and share the excitement with everyone I can. So part of my goal for this year is to design opportunities for our teachers to grow without leaving them feeling overwhelmed. I want to do for our teachers what I’m asking them to do for their students: Give them the the tools to learn more and the skills to do it efficiently with control of the path, pace, place and time of their learning. Help them set realistic goals and work toward those goals throughout the year. Support them with coaching, professional learning opportunities and connections to experts.
As we plan our professional learning for this year, what tips and advice would you have to keep me focused?