Thursday, February 11, 2016

Taking a Step Back

One lesson I've learned well as a teacher is the importance of knowing what my goals are.

One lesson I'm continuing to learn is the importance of articulating those goals clearly to the class.

I sometimes forget that as the architect of my curriculum, I know it as intimately as an author knows his own novel, an artist, her own painting, or a composer, his own sonata.

My students do not have this relationship to my curriculum.  They can only see what I allow them to see (although some bright students are able to connect the dots with little difficulty).

The bottom-line is this: the fact that I know how everything fits together in my class is no guarantee that my students know how everything fits together.  I need to remember to pause every so often and take a step back, along with the students, to help them see how what we are doing connects to where we are going.

I had occasion to do this last week in my English class and drew a flow-chart on the board that students seemed to find helpful.  Unfortunately, I erased it without taking a picture of it, so I re-drew an example from my Humanities class for the purposes of this blog-post:
I took this example from my 3rd unit in Humanities, showing how an in-class essay
fit into the scheme of the entire unit, and on an ever bigger scale, the entire course.

Everything should be purposeful.  No major assessment should be originating--everything ought to be traceable back to manageable formative building blocks.

We know this, of course... but do our students?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I have a couple of bright boys in my family who don't like to do things that appear meaningless, they need to know the purpose.