Teaching Lessons

The New York Times:

How do we help students achieve academically and socially? As a teacher, I have lofty answers. But challenges — and questions — arise when I try to translate my ideas (and ideals) into concrete lessons, delivered in 90-minute increments to a very particular set of sixth graders, each as individual and evanescent as a snowflake.

To help teachers succeed, schools offer “professional development,” universally known as P.D. Like a lot of teachers, I’ve come to regard such training with a mix of optimism and disappointment. Over the last 20 years, I’ve attended more education “workshops” than I care to remember. Such courses typically lasted no more than an hour or a day, and nearly always contained valid, even vital ideas, but were too superficial, too removed from the realities of my classroom to alter my teaching very much, even when I yearned for change.

Then I started work at a school that takes P.D. seriously. This summer, my school sent me to a weeklong, intensive course for middle school teachers called Developmental Designs, which derives from a teaching approach known as Responsive Classroom.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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