3 Reasons To Change The Way You Teach
Nobody is perfect. Everyone can improve. And to improve, you must change. That's the truth.
To change, you must try new things; new ways and new tools.
Of course, keep the things that work. But, commit to saying "no more" to lessons that suck. They're no fun for anyone. Commit to saying "no more" to mind numbing "blah" strategies that do not promote active learning.
Do it because...
1. You want your students to learn and you just don't know...
I had a conversation with a coworker today. He said that I shouldn't let kids retake tests. I told him I would love to get rid of grades altogether. He said: Good luck with that.
He also said that I should not hold the kids' hands too much and expect them to do more at home (I don't assign homework). Then, he explained how only 4 kids out of all his classes did the optional practice problems he put online to practice for the quiz they bombed the next day.
I used to think that when my students failed it was because they did not put the effort into learning. They didn't pay attention in class. They were lazy. They did not care.
But the truth is that I didn't really know...
The truth is that we are all wired differently. I understood and learned things quickly all my life, so I found it easy to assume that all students can do the same if they just try. But the truth is that some students do pay attention and don't get it the first, second, or third time. The truth is that they often leave class without the understanding necessary for homework to be meaningful.
There are many factors that affect students inside and outside of schools. I learned to ask questions and not assume how things are. I changed and stopped expecting how things should be. The universal way does not exist. There are many paths. If I want all my students to learn, I must commit to finding new paths.
2. You want to grow...
Get feedback. Analyze it. Reflect on what worked and what didn't. Adjust your teaching accordingly. You will learn. You will grow.
3. It's fun...
Creating is fun. When you are thinking about how to do something better, you become better. You let the innovator in you out and that brings on excitement. And then the potential for awakening excitement in others arises.
Will you always be successful? No. But it will be fun when you are! And the more you do it, the more successful you will be. And the more fun it will get. For you and your students.
4. It adds meaning...
Wait. Doesn't the title say "3 Reasons?" It does. This one is a bonus.
We all want our lives to mean something and I believe that every teacher wants to add meaning to their students' lives. This is done through meaningful education. Meaningful education is about teaching thinking and skills.
Grades and test scores get you into a good college. Skills get you a good life. Of course, you can use skills to get more good grades in college. Graduate with distinction. 5 years later no one cares. But if you got skills...
Skills. This is what my book "Crush School" teaches students. Skills to learn better and smarter. Skills to develop good habits. Skills to focus, reflect, and persist. And it explains how the brain works and is best used to learn. And, it is a student book that doesn't suck. And now the paperback is 25% ($11.99) off on Amazon for a limited time only.
Grab a copy and use it to teach students skills they will use all their life.
Oops! I almost forgot the bonus part. Grab the book before midnight on Wednesday, November 23rd and I'll throw in 3 High Resolution PDF Infographic Classroom Posters of your choice. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the proof of purchase and tell me which 3 you would like. This bonus goes away after midnight on Wednesday, November 23rd.
You have the power to change the world. Use it often.