So, where do we begin?

We need, first, to recognize and honor our deep commitment to students, without which we would not be teaching. We work hard and care for each and every one of them, and often leave school exhausted. We know—as the research has confirmed—we are the most important factor for their success in our classrooms. How, then, can we use our caring and commitment to turn our talking as delivery into talking for learning?

We can begin by asking ourselves: “How can I take advantage of my conversational skills and turn away from delivery of information and knowledge and move towards making learning happen in my classroom every day?”

We can visualize letting go of repetitive, whole-group talking, and instead, imagine using words as brain stimulators, as work energizers, and as learning motivators. We can pay more attention to students’ ideas rather than insisting they listen and repeat what we say. We can activate ways to think, create, and design rather than to copy, memorize, and regurgitate, thus gaining confidence as we see students learning. We can say less and teach more. We can listen and learn about their learning—and learn from them.

Once we begin this process, we taste a new future. We gain a deeper satisfaction as more students retain what we teach. We relish seeing them active and involved. Suddenly, there is no turning back. We’re no longer stuck in past practice, in which we relegated ourselves to the trash heap of talking teachers.

Praise for Teaching from the Middle of the Room: “I enjoyed reading your book, learned from it, and am a better teacher because of it” ~Dinty Moore, writer and teacher at Ohio University

Order Teaching from the Middle of the Room: Inviting Students to Learn (Stetson Press, 2010) and discover ideas that all teachers can do to make learning possible in their classrooms every day. Purchase from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Middle-Room-Frank-Thoms/dp/0615358918

Advertisements