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I completed 5 miles this morning on my run even with a few app issues. This morning “Running Thoughts” agenda included my homework assignment from yesterday’s Master Class with John Hunter. At the end of the day, we were asked to reflect on the following questions for today:
- How do you teach?
- Why do you teach that way?
- How are you intentional about building relationships?
Additionally, as a tool to help us think through the process we were given a copy of “Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs.”
My teaching has transformed over the past few years. When I started teaching, I used mostly direct instruction and my classes were primarily teacher-centric. I set the rules; I established the procedures; I made the decisions. As I’m reinventing myself, I am moving to a more student-centered approach. I have implemented a lot of visible thinking into my instruction and I see my role as more of a questioner than answerer. I also have moved toward more inquiry (though I admittedly have a long way to go). Now, I am much more interested in giving my students a voice in how the class operates and functions and I try to do more listening than talking. I want to draw out their ideas and then ask them good questions to help them process or refine their learning. I am also making a larger commitment to having my students write because I think writing helps us formulate and process our ideas.
Why do you teach this way?
I teach this way because the world has changed and it is important for kids to learn how to think on their own. My goal is to teach students to think critically and creatively and to make deep connections in order that they might live an excellent life. I don’t want them to simply accept what they are told. I want them to ask good questions, consider alternatives, and weigh consequences. I also want them to do work that matters and, ultimately, to make the world better place.
How are you intentional about building relationships?
Actually, I think this is one of my strengths. I realized early on that good relationships require an investment of TIME. So, I invest time getting to know my students and my colleagues. I set aside time at the beginning of the school year to let my students do some inquiry into my classroom and my life. I also have the students create a bridge or metaphor about themselves then bring it to class and explain it to us. I work hard to learn students’ names, and I ask them questions about their families, their interests, and their hobbies, and I try to find ways that I can connect with them as individuals as I listen to their answers. I also set aside time to go to their ball games, to talk with their parents, and to be available for them as they need me. I firmly believe that good teaching and learning does not happen without good relationships so I am working continually to make lasting connections.
What about you? How do you teach? Why do you teach that way? And how are you intentional about building relationships?