When you consider education more of a vocation than a profession you tend to focus many of your waking moments on both the act of teaching and the philosophy behind it. Education really is my life’s work and it consumes a lot of my time. Because of that I have a lot of wishes for what I want teaching and learning to look like in our world.
All I want for Christmas is…
Teachers as facilitators– Our students follow different paths to reach learning outcomes. When teachers are facilitators they recognize this and work to help each student navigate their individual journeys to mastery. This requires a bit of letting go. Teachers can’t dictate the learning path.
Authentic assessment- The role of an educator is to prepare students to be productive citizens. Incorporating authentic assessment is one way we can do this. It may be easier to grade multiple choice assessments or assign students the same learning task, but it does nothing to prepare them for the 21st century. It doesn’t require students synthesize information or apply their understanding. In my experience authentic assessment is more fulfilling for us as educators. It allows us to truly see our students transfer their learning. We get to see their creativity and individuality and that can be a beautiful thing.
Skills over content-When I see students studying pages and pages of material for quizzes and tests I cringe. All I want for Christmas is an educational system where skills are valued more than content, an environment where our students learn to question, build arguments, critique, and evaluate sources.
Thoughtful use of technology- Let’s move beyond substitution with technology and allow our students to use technology to redefine learning. Our role as teachers is to expose students to the variety of tools open to them and then provide the flexibility in our classrooms for students to choose the tool that works best for them. Every move we make with technology in our classrooms influences the way our students use technology. If we are always presenting our lessons with slides, our students will use slides. If we only use word processing tools, our kids will do the same. Technology use should encourage complex thinking skills not serve as a tool for replication.
So just like the Grinch said:
“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more.”