Choose to sign this Manifesto and commit to engaged teaching.

A Teaching Manifesto

In deciding to change our practice from teaching from the front of the room to the middle, we need guidelines to remind us and guide us. By signing this “Teaching Manifesto,” we commit to making this happen.

For myself:

  • I will use invitations in my teaching and be relentless in finding those that work.
  • I will make the love and joy of learning the centerpiece of my instruction.
  • I will listen more and talk less. I will ask more questions and give fewer answers. My questions will elicit thinking and not right responses.
  • I will refrain from repeating what students say as respect for their voice.
  • I will listen for the wonder in each child and nourish it every day. I will see the world from their point of view.
  • I will respect different learning styles and seek pathways to assure successes for each student.
  • I will investigate and incorporate relevant conclusions of brain research.
  • I will teach by invoking high expectations for all students and recognize I may not know what they may be. Every day, I will reexamine my perceptions of each child’s potential.
  • I will articulate the learning intentions from the big picture of what I’m to teach into each lesson—and I will make sure each student always understands where we are headed and why.
  • I will teach meaningful and worthwhile content, skills, and values, including important ideas from the past, as well as issues and concerns for the future.
  • I will bring big ideas and enduring understandings into the classroom and value my students’ interpretations of them.
  • I will understand my fundamental responsibility at every grade level to teach for lifelong learning: to teach students to teach themselves.
  • I will seek what is authentic in myself and in my teaching, and commit to discovering my passions and invoke them in my classroom.
  • I commit to understand the world in which I live so I can offer honest and informed perspectives.
  • I will model risk-taking to teach my students the value of frustration and struggle in learning challenging material.
  • I will seek to be open to innovative ideas, concepts, and pedagogies to improve my teaching.
  • I will build on methods that work and jettison those that do not.
  • I commit to stay current in the growing knowledge base of the profession and in my content areas, and seek collaboration to integrate best practices into my teaching.
  • I will welcome colleagues, parents, and interested citizens into my classroom to share in our adventures. I know I cannot teach alone, and I cannot teach without feedback and support.
  • I will understand my teaching as a calling and not as a job.
  • I commit to moving into the middle of the room and encourage students to learn every day, in every class.

With my colleagues:

  • We will pay attention to what works and what does not.
  • We will take every word, every event, every failure and turn them to the advantage of our students, sweeping nothing under the rug.
  • We will recognize our part when students struggle, and together we will find ways for them to achieve success.
  • We will not blame officials, parents, or students for our lack of success. If we cannot enlist their commitment, we will be relentless in doing all we can to overcome challenges and difficulties. No excuses.
  • No hurdle, no matter how high, will deny us the opportunity to serve our students best interests by invoking intelligence, compassion and love.

And, in addition, I/we will…

Signed: ________________________________ Date: ___________

For more on this crucial issue see 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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