Dan Hilliard, who appeared in the first three blog posts, enjoys thinking and talking about teaching with his colleague Angela Bernardi: [This entry is excerpted from the Reflection at the end of Chapter 1. Reflections are provided at the end of each chapter to stimulate further thinking.]

Dan Hilliard and Allegra Bernardi have often discussed the impact of lecturing on learning. “Why do we do it,” they wondered, “when we were often bored listening to lectures?”… Dan likes 10-2 Thinking… In fact, he realized that it has changed his perspective on teaching… he now sees it including frequent assessments to assure his students are learning. Checking in and listening to them has become essential to his teaching.

“If every teacher who lectured or talked a lot decided to use 10-2 Thinking,” Dan thought to himself, “what a difference it would make throughout the school! Every student would leave every class having worked with the material taught—and would go home with something with which to practice!”…

He decided to ask Allegra to observe him because he not only wanted to show her how he was using 10-2 Thinking but also wanted her feedback. “What if,” Dan said to her, “we made a pact to listen more and talk less to our students—and to let them give more input about their learning? What if our classrooms eventually became more like 2-10 Thinking!?”

“I think this is a good idea,” Allegra said. “But we must be careful not to become stuck in either-or thinking. Sometimes, as you well know, we can talk to students for as long as twenty minutes and have their full attention. These times, what I call engaged talking, sometimes happen by surprise, when students are eager to take in what we have to say. It’s like they’re hungry for our words and hang on to every one. I do not want to give up those times.”

“Neither do I,” Dan replied.

Praise for Teaching from the Middle of the Room: “I have very much appreciated your book. It’s so important….truly a labor of love, mindfulness, and attentive care…and I hope it gets all the audience it deserves.” ~Anne Wheelock, Crossing the Tracks

Even when teachers discover new practices (in this instance 10-2 and 2-10), they need to remember not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You can find more such wisdom in Teaching from the Middle of the Room: Inviting Students to Learn from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Middle-Room-Frank-Thoms/dp/0615358918

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