Working a lot with teachers and parents in the past few weeks, it is amazing to see the shift in focus that our students need to be more connected. There is a definite shift in the mindset of many. With that being said, the focus on creativity, innovation, and the skills that are needed for the “21st Century”, many understand that schools need to continue to focus on strong relationships with their students and school community to thrive in our time. Relationships continue to be the foundation that great schools are built upon. It is paramount that we continue to focus on that.
Here are some articles that I found pushed my thinking in the last week:
1. What does teaching creativity look like? – Creativity is a skill that is needed in our world with the “knowledge economy” becoming dominant in our work place. With so many traditions that are firmly in place in our schools, does this skew our thinking and take away our ability to be creative? In this short article, the author asks a similar question:
Perhaps the most important entry on Michalko’s list is his last point, that “creativity is paradoxical.” Schools are places where students are supposed to acquire knowledge—but to create, a person must “forget the knowledge.” If you’re not able to leave what you think you know behind, you can’t approach problems with a fresh perspective. Students must also be taught to “desire success but embrace failure,” and to “listen to experts but know how to disregard them.”
2. Autonomy in Teaching Training – My good friend, Chris Wejr, challenges the “status quo” in the way that teacher training programs are preparing new educators for a rapidly changing world and classroom. I have heard this conversation often, yet it is interesting to not only read this post but the comments that follow as well. Chris ends the post with the following:
Our pre-service teaching programs seem to be over in the blink of an eye (in BC, they are often only 16-20 weeks). This is a critical time as this is often the only experience they will have prior to applying for teaching positions. Providing more autonomy for our future teachers is key to their development so I hope you can add your thoughts to this conversation to see if we can help move our programs forward.
Chris has some great thoughts…how can we better prepare our new teachers to implement the strategies needed to be successful coming into this challenging profession? I encourage you to add to the conversation on Chris’ blog post.
3. Important Conversations – Some of the practices that I (as well as many other teachers) have implemented over the past few years we now know are not beneficial to learning. The idea of taking away grades for being late does not show the true understanding a child has over the content of the class, yet it is essential to ensure students are good citizens and respectful of our school environment. The picture in this blog post is a great conversation starter for staff, students, and parents. More importantly though then the message, is the conversation. How do we continue to bring parents in on the learning of school to help enhance the work we are doing together with children? How do we continue to inform and discuss with them continuously evolving teaching and learning practices? I think of this Marc Prensky quote when reading the aforementioned article:
“Involve your students’ parents as much as you can. Try thinking of them as your students as well, that is, as people you are educating.” Marc Prensky
When parents and schools work together, you double the chance of success for each child.
I hope that all of you have an amazing week and I thank everyone for continuing to share and write amazing content that will help all of us continuously learn!