Have you ever felt that you were running on a treadmill in your classroom? Straining to keep the pace but really going nowhere? It can feel like that sometimes in education. You change your practice, invest hours into planning new activities to challenge and engage your students but, the big assessment comes and, at times, it feels like there was no difference in results than you had experienced in your past years. Sigh.
It’s almost enough to make you go back to your traditional form of teaching, it seemed to have worked before . . . better the devil you know. Before you do that, just hold on for a minute and think about what it is you want for the students who leave your classroom. What are those skill set that you hope they walk away with? You know what I bet doesn’t make that list? A straight knowledge of factual information. What you likely want are those key skills for life; communication, critical thinking, empathy, creativity, clear thinking and the list goes on.
Does your current practice reflect that skill development? Do your lessons challenge students and engage them? Will students be stronger thinkers at the end of your class? Those are the key questions you need to ask yourself when planning your lessons and your approach.
When you assess, are you assessing the skill sets that you really want in your students or are you assessing facts and knowledge? Make sure there is consistency in what you want from learners and what you are assessing.
Sometimes it does feel like we are on a treadmill in classrooms and going nowhere. But keep in mind that treadmills build the endurance to be more healthy in the rest of your life. When kids leave your treadmill, they have the endurance and muscle development to handle a real world run. They have the skill sets runners need.
So keep thinking building skills sets. Build key competencies in kids to be successful. It can be difficult to make changes to your practice, but it is worth it.
keep on growing!