Changing how teachers teach.

This is a brief piece about changing the way teachers teach.

Not a difficult thing to attempt but likely to go wrong, and sometimes, very wrong.

Here is a step by step guide to improving teaching.

First, get the teacher to identify how they think children learn. Although they may not have been clear about this, all teachers have a theory about how learning happens. It may be based on what they were taught at training college. Perhaps they have read a blog or two. They may claim they do not have a theory, but they will have. Do they believe that children are born with talents and that our job as teachers is to draw out those innate talents? Perhaps they have a behaviourist view of learning, or they object strongly to children being thought of as learning in the way Skinner taught his pigeons to play table tennis.

Who are the theorists they hold to be true? Dewey, Frier, and there is a long list.

Do they believe in ‘active learning’, where doing itself will lead to learning? Are they a guide on the side or a sage on the stage? Perhaps a mix of both.

What I hope is that in the words of Dylan Wiliam, “Every teacher can improve.” How can we support and continue that improvement? And who will support you in your improvement?

Relationships matter. We all know that but how many of us have sought the original? My bet is, very few. And my second bet is that you think relationships are about teacher-student relationships. Other relationships may well matter more, and the original was not about personal relationships but the relationship that the learner has with the material to be learned.

There is a lot more to improving teachers and the learning in their classrooms.

Change requires a learning framework, a desire to change, evidence, suggestions as to what to do, support with planning and tolerance of a temporary lower performance.

If you want to know more then I’d be happy to talk via email –

peter.blenkinsop@gmail.com

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