Having a gadfly on staff breaks down the endemic isolation of teachers.


A gadfly assures that teachers collaborate to:

  • Activate lessons to excite and engage students
  • Discuss different options for struggling students
  • Provide alternative materials to our advanced students in a particular topic
  • Group students flexibly during lessons to improve learning
  • Teach students to self-assess
  • Respond to different learning styles, particularly those different from our own
  • Apply brain research to improve student learning
  • Arrange and rearrange desks to facilitate lessons
  • Summarize to build long-term retention
  • Provide challenging and worthwhile alternative products for students to demonstrate what they have learned
  • Frame lessons so students will be more aware of what they are learning and why
  • Create essential questions to stimulate thinking and motivate learning

Imagine the effect of receiving feedback from one of our own, a teacher as gadfly, whose desire is to make all of us better! Imagine the effect on the gadfly herself, who finally has an opportunity to share her pent-up ideas! We all need help. We cannot teach alone any more. Great teaching demands that every time we step into our classrooms we address the central question I pose in this book, “What can I do every day to make meaningful learning happen for each and every student in my classroom?” Invoking this question invites us to seek answers. We set our intention—and the gadfly is there to make it possible.

Are you willing to try this idea?

For exciting ideas about improving schools and the classroom read Chapter 15 in Part V “What Can We Learn from Beyond the Culture of the Schools?” in Teaching from the Middle of the Room: Inviting Students to Learn. Order from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Middle-Room-Frank-Thoms/dp/0615358918.

Image from Thomas B. Fordham Institute