Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Transition: Going from Teacher-Centered to Student-Centered

I'll admit...I am a leader, a do-er, and until these past few years I didn't think "teaching" included anything else but the teacher being in front "teaching" the class. 

Through some professional development, the teacher evaluations constantly changing, and observation: I am starting to see a NEW way of learning. I'm starting to realize: I need to STEP BACK! I need to trust my kids! I need to let them learn on their own! That doesn't mean Mrs. Baxter's taking "15" but rather even the Master has to sit back and watch his apprentice "do".  

I love my job and I love teaching, and I also love holding my kids' hands a bit too much! (Guilty) I want them to know I am always right there and "WE" can do it together, but I am starting to see that sometimes you have to let them DO! (And I'm not talking about the worksheet you gave them, the quiz you designed, or the project we just went over but actually let them discover)! 

I am right now in the transition mode of taking my traditional techniques of teaching and turning them into student-led practices. You just can't expect to shut the door, say "We're learning Reflexive Verbs today" and expect them to teach themselves BUT after displaying the content, I am learning it's okay to let them explore. 

I read an article:

(Love this article by the way) 

This article basically talks about how Kindergarten is full of exploration and discovery, I love his comparison to how the kids move like well-oiled machines from one center to the next. 

But think about it? Why are we running our classrooms differently in high school? Is there no time for exploration and discovery? Is it too hard to fit our content knowledge into this style of learning? 

I, myself, am asking these questions because I want to take my kids BACK to exploration and discovery. I want them to have the learning at their finger-tips, and I want to know as a teacher "What can I do to make this happen?" 

Here are some of my tips I am learning to transition my classroom into a student-centered classroom: 

1. You have to give choices to the students. 

2. Don't be scared of technology. 

3. The kids MUST work together. Pick strong leaders from the beginning. 

4. If a kid is sitting (without moving, doing, talking) for more than 5 minutes...too much of the attention is on YOU! Time to make "THEM" do something! 

5. It will get a little crazy at times, but they are still learning. 

6. Make use of EVERY minute!

7. Assign chores, roles, procedures the kids can follow day by day. 

8. Make sure there is always accountability for each student. 

So these are just a few...and I am learning a few more here and there. 

Hope you enjoyed today's post. 

How is your classroom? How do the kids learn? Any tips, advice, concerns, questions to share? 

God Bless & Happy Teaching,
Brittany B. 

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