Sunday, April 27, 2014

We Don't Already Do This

The instructional shifts needed in our classrooms are real.  Hard.  Worth it.  Professional practice in which teachers spend more time planning than grading is easier said than done.  Moving from questions with right answers to questions with no clear answers probably means that our students will be writing more than we want to grade.  We will be giving up some measure of control, which does not mean that classrooms will be chaotic, all answers-accepted-as-equal, participation trophy environments. Student centered classrooms are spaces of complex learning, in which teachers put in place the conditions for needed for student questioning, research, debate, failure + perseverance, productive struggle, meaning-making, and hard-earned growth.

There is a simple truth that we must accept, no matter what well-meaning encouragers tell us:

We don't already do this.

To the extent that we have made some changes we are on the right track.   But we can't settle for a message that comforts us.  As Margaret Wheatley advises, we must be willing to be disturbed.  Not crushed to the point of paralysis, but disturbed.

With everything in motion all at once, why would we engage in these shifts?  Things are just going to change again, as soon as we get used to all this stuff. Maybe even before. Grumble, grumble, grumble...

Here's the thing about change...we couldn't get to these needed shifts without all the work that came before.
The mighty oak was once a seedling.  Our efforts aren't wasted, they bring us to greater understanding and more powerful practices.  Onward and upward!

1 comment:

  1. You're right, we are in the middle of change. I am reminded of Madeline Hunter's quote, "Any growth requires a temporary loss of security." Giving up control is difficult for many. Teachers worry about students being ready for The Test. Many have taught that way for a long time and it's hard to make the shift. "We must be willing to be disturbed," reminds me of our training with Troy as we got ready for ASI. :) Your ending is powerful. Our efforts aren't wasted, they bring us to greater understanding and more powerful practices.