PREPARING OUR STUDENTS FOR TODAY, NOT YESTERDAY. IT’S TIME TO STEM THE RISING FLOOD OF MEDIOCRITY. WHAT WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME IS NOT GOING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR MY STUDENTS.

IT IS TIME TO STAND UP AND SUPPORT EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING….. THOSE IN THE PROFESSION WHO GIVE THEIR TIME AND ENERGY TO MAKING THEIR CLASSROOM SOCIALLY & EMOTIONALLY  SAFE AND INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGING for every student ! 

Look at the power and strength of one standing alone:

ant holding stick

 

 

 

 

 

Our colleagues working WITH us create the POWER and STRENGTH to cross canyons.

together

 

 

 

 

 

 

TO FORD RIVERS

fire ants

 

TO LEAD OUR STUDENTS INTO THEir FUTURE.

Readin, ritin’ and ‘rithmetic just won’t cut it folks…

JOIN THE REVOLUTION. WE TEACH KIDS TO THINK both creatively and critically.

MATCH, SORT, ORDER, CLASSIFY AND COMPARE….  IF THEY CANNOT THINK CLEARLY AND CRITICALLY our FUTURE is lost…..

Knowing facts is a bi product or constant and consistent attention to learning, investigating, questioning, engaging in problems and discussing solutions.

 

Here’s what I learned at FINDING COMMON GROUND: 2014.

Teaching must be deliberate, active and grounded in clear purpose.

The most important question is the one our students constantly ask us ” TELL ME WHY?” 

Why am I teaching this? Why am I designing a unit, lesson, activity around this topic/theme/book? (How will it help my students learn to think critically, creatively? how to communicate with clarity? how to seek out better ways to solve bigger problems? how to love the thrill of using their brains to learn?

WHY IS THIS outcome in the curriculum? What does it link to, connect with? I use curriculum to inform and direct my critical evaluation of TEXTBOOKS and other RESOURCES, not vice versa.

I teach. I know curriculum, I study curriculum I DO NOT COVER CURRICULUM. I use it to inform my practice and alert me to my own ignorance so that I may improve my content knowledge. I know curriculum inside out and backwards…. so I can make connections between attitudes, skills and knowledge. I need to help students see the connections….

I ask myself: Why am I rotely following through a ROUTINE some other teacher told me, “We all do. And we do it this way.” How is it enhancing, contributing to the learning and growth of my students?

MY TEACHING MUST HAVE PURPOSE. IT MUST ACTIVELY AND DELIBERATELY ENGAGE STUDENTS IN CONSTRUCTING, COMPARING AND EVALUATING SKILLS, ATTITUDES AND PIECES OF KNOWLEDGE.  I do not do things based on the excuse that “somebody makes me do it” or   “because everyone else is doing it.”

When I began my teaching career, several of the teachers in my wing of the building had no education beyond Grade 12. They had just been told they needed to “get” their degree or at least 2 years of University. The alternative, never move up the pay scale.

If I had chosen to accept their well-meant advice on how to teach and what to teach, I would be stepping back from the evolving body of knowledge that directs my growth as a teacher and as a world citizen.  I constantly hear from, respond to teachers, who want to accept the advice of well meaning others without checking to see if it is actually grounded in more than just “because everyone else does it”, because we have always done it”, because it looks “cute”, sounds like “fun”. Critical thinking means carefully evaluating the information available to you… comparing several sources, looking for links in research and experience, clearly knowing the goal is to create thinkers and learners…. The body of research and the data on teaching and learning available for teachers today simply was not available when I started teaching.

In the face of less invasive, more effective procedures now available, NO DOCTOR WOULD DARE TRY TO PASS OFF WHAT HE OR SHE DID 30 YEARS AGO, 20 YEARS AGO, 5 YEARS AGO AS GOOD ENOUGH FOR TODAY…

No teacher should be satisfied or interested in reverting back to what was done in the name of ‘SCHOOLING’ 5 to 50 years ago as good enough to build the critical thinkers, the creative, responsible and informed students we need to develop for TODAY.  I refuse to be intimidated by BIASED and BULLYING headlines. I refuse to be intimidated by COLLEAGUES with no interest in studying how they teach, what the impact of their teaching is, in learning more themselves, in learning how their students learn.

I have learned from my past,  now I study the present to impact the future.

I am tired of the NONSENSE !!!!!  Sort, classify and compare the available data intelligently. The students in our classrooms come to school with a completely different level of knowledge and skill than we did. They face a completely different social and emotional world than we did. We cannot compare them to the students of 20 years ago, of even 3 years ago.. The composition of our classrooms, the needs, wants and desires of our students change with the times.  But what has not changed is that the human brain needs to make connections in order to deal with the incredible cacophony of information it encounters everyday. We must teach our students to think and to think carefully and critically.

EITHER STAND BESIDE ME AND HELP ME LEARN AND IMPROVE OR GET OUT OF MY WAY BECAUSE THE WORLD IS CHANGING AND SO AM I.

 

I am a fully qualified, highly educated professional. I have spent many, many years studying my practise, my students, my colleagues, society and life. I BASE MY ACTIONS, ACTIVITIES AND ASSESSMENTS ON WELL THOUGHT OUT, RESEARCH SUPPORTED understandings of how the human brain LEARNS, GROWS AND THRIVES.

I will not waste the precious time I have with students moaning and groaning about what they do not know, about why don’t they know this….  I actively, deliberately and consciously seek out ways to engage them, to help them learn to organize and sort data, build well constructed chains of logic in order to develop well thought through arguments and discussions for how and why things work. If they do not “know”something, it is my job to help them learn it, not blame someone else.

The power of learning is not in knowing the ANSWER  it is in knowing WHY SOMEONE BELIEVES THAT IS THE ANSWER and in using the “ANSWER” to ask new questions, follow new lines of inquiry, build new understandings.