Summer break is in full swing and District 118 is hard at work preparing for the 2017-2018 school year. I hope this month's message finds you spending time with family, traveling and enjoying some much deserved time away from school!
Recently, I was asked to provide a snapshot of my vision for classroom instruction. I am a visual learner so I thought I would start by providing two pictures. The picture on the left depicts the antithesis of my vision for classroom instruction; students sitting unengaged in traditional desks in unimaginative rows listening to a teacher instruct from the front of the classroom. It reminds me of most of the classrooms from my own public school experience. In contrast, the picture on the right of engaged students collaborating in small groups in a lively classroom environment with the teacher facilitating perfectly captures my vision for classroom instruction in the 21st Century.
Education is no longer just about transferring knowledge from teacher to student. Students' smartphones and Google can - and do - take care of that. Our education system is transitioning to primarily teach st
udents how to effectively apply knowledge. To be clear, this transition does not happen overnight and it does not happen through mandates from state and federal government, nor by edict from the superintendent's office.
The model 21st Century classroom teacher employs instructional strategies that develop students' abilities to critically analyze information, make informed decisions, collaborate with peers to solve problems, and effectively communicate ideas and arguments. The 21st Century teacher strikes the right balance between engaging student-centered collaborative learning activities and whole group direct instruction. They design lessons that tap into students' interests and link content to real world experiences. 21st Century teachers create authentic higher order assessments using multiple methods to allow students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do more than what they can merely recall.
In short, my vision for classroom instruction is the picture on the right and not the picture on the left.
Have a safe, relaxing and fun summer! I look forward to seeing everyone when school resumes in August.