Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Keep it Real, Make it Personal



Teachers have great ideas! What they do with them is the key. We are working in an age where personalization is becoming more relevant than ever before. Our students are expecting an education tailored to their abilities and interests. The work force, their future employment, is asking for a graduate that can express themselves personally and professionally in a digital age.

We are fully aware that students need an authentic and rich academic journey. Is it past time that we allow our teachers to explore those great ideas, to give them some freedom to make it pesonal? Too often we find ourselves constrained by time, resources, money and outcomes.  The outcomes of a regimented schedule of mandated assessments often take away a teachers desire to find the authenticity, the voice and the passion that they have in their desire to teach kids.

We ask our students to budget their time and to balance their interests. When at school we encourage students to get involved as much as possible.  Yet we as educators are controlled by a course of study and a list of learning outcomes that too often stifle our creativity, the very reason we got into this profession, and defeat the ambition that burns inside.

Being an educator is no easy task. There is content that has to be taught. And, undoubtedly, we need our students to master concepts in the course of study and show mastery of the material to grow on that quest for higher education and their pending employment.

Whether a business leader, academic leader or teacher leader, we need to help our colleagues get to a place where they can take their great ideas and apply them in their instruction. Encourage teachers to do things like: collaborative work spaces, Project-Based Learning, embedding technology and using social media as a learning tool.  We need take away rows of desks, add four fronts of the classroom and share in the teaching of material so that classrooms become an environment where all participants are both teachers and learners.

Supporting our colleagues to make their teaching authentic, to make it personal and foster a climate of trial and error in their instruction is pivotal to the educational experience of our students.

Take the great ideas and bring them to fruition.  Keep it real and make it personal.