Developing a classroom that is focused on learning should be the goal of every teacher. Unfortunately, many teachers and administrators may mistakenly think that their classrooms already are. After all, what else can a classroom be focused on? Check out The Two Things Teachers Focus on Most Instead of Learning or see if your classroom has gotten confused by the difference between Objectives vs Obstacles of Learning. Take the $10,000 Challenge and see if you’re ready for Step 1.
1) Accept Responsibility for Learning
Before you can develop a classroom that is truly focused on learning, you must first acknowledge that you as a classroom teacher have within you the power to overcome all obstacles and GURANTEE your students learning. Familiarize yourself with Dr. Anthony Muhammad’s work by asking Am I a Believer? Consider how things might be different if you had ZERO educational training in The Parable of the Untrained Sub. True Edunators are prepared to Stop Playing the Victim and accept responsibility for student learning.
2) Grade for Learning
After you’ve accepted the challenge to ensure your classroom is focused on learning, hold yourself accountable to the idea by only including things in your gradebook that reflect the actual learning of content knowledge. Drawing on the work of Ken ‘O Connor, consider the Trouble with Grading and What’s In a Letter Grade. Take some time to Audit Your Gradebook and consider alternative means to assessment, like Oral Defense Grading.
3) Develop a Culture of Learning
A true culture of learning is more than just rules and procedures to overcome obstacles. It’s a complete mindset in how you go about addressing obstacles of learning. Peruse through the Obstacles of Learning Solution Index to get some ideas and remember the secret that great teachers already know, but nobody likes to talk about.
4) Lesson Plan for Learning
Learning doesn’t happen by accident. It takes carefully designed instruction that embeds both Formative Assessment and Differentiated Instruction. Learn how to use the Four Critical Questions of a PLC from a student’s perspective to drive your lesson planning and check out the hidden link between Video Games and Learning, courtesy of Dr. Bobb Darnell.
Teaching kids how to learn might be more important than anything else we teach them. Begin this process by requiring kids to look back on their learning and determine what worked for them and what didn’t. You’ll be amazed how honest they can be and how much their behavior changes. Model reflection with students and reflect upon your own best practices as well using the 30 Questions for Teacher Reflection. You and your students will both be better off for it.