The Brooks faculty received this from our Dean of Faculty. It is a nice piece he ascertained from a journal on teaching. There is a great deal of merit to this. And, I found it to be a great reminder on thinking more about the learning process than the teaching process; we frequently think in terms of teaching and learning; however, maybe we should focus on learning and teaching. I am not much of a lesson planner; I read a great deal as I delve into my academic scholarship as a means of driving my teaching. Hence, teaching is a science; it is a process that requires constant reflection.
“What do great teachers do differently?” ask Jodi Newton (Stamford University/ Birmingham, AL) and Betty Winches (Homewood, AL Schools) in this article in Reading Improvement. Their study of elementary- and middle-school teachers who produced significant gains in student learning for three consecutive years yielded the following insights:
• Highly effective teachers have clear learning targets and their students understand what it takes to get better and own their learning. These teachers focus on ultimate learning outcomes more than compliance with required assignments.
• They create a culture of redemption. They assess frequently and see students’ mistakes as a road map to improvement.
• They constantly and frequently tweak their lessons in response to how students are doing. Students’ learning needs are more important than lesson plans.
• They ask questions that go to the heart of the subject and teach students to pose their own questions. “They are able to track misunderstandings and then clarify them for their students,” say Newton and Winches. “As students learn to ask the right questions – those related to their learning targets – they begin to own the goals and maximize their learning.”
• They create a culture of high expectations coupled with good relationships. These are not friendships but partnerships (You and me, in this together) focused on academic achievement. “This tenacity, concern, and love for each student are obvious, yet are linked directly to unyielding aspirations for each student,” say Newton and Winches.
“How to Maximize Learning for All Students” by Jodi Newton and Betty Winches in Reading Improvement, Summer 2013 (Vol. 50, p. 71-74), no e-link available