Here’s the big secret. Are you ready for it?
Excellent teaching that gets excellent results is based upon perfecting and refining the Big 4 (in this order!):
- Classroom management
- Student engagement
- Lesson preparation and planning
- Instructional delivery
So that’s it! End of post!
No…not really, but you catch my drift. While I’m excited about innovations and new findings in education, I’m always comforted by the fact that if we can refine our Big 4 (management, engagement, preparation and delivery), we have the key to the “improve scores” kingdom! And the REALLY cool part? The Big 4 are totally within our control. And that matters when it seems like the socio-economics are against you.
Let’s start with classroom management. It is the root of a well-run classroom. There is no teaching unless there is control.
Classroom management is the key to student engagement. Engagement isn’t a choice, it’s a requirement. But if you can’t get kids’ attention because you lack control, there is no way that you will increase engagement. Oh and, by the way, engagement is absolutely essential to skill mastery. And, need I say, that skill mastery equals “passing the test?” (And no, it’s not all about “passing the test” but SURELY kids should be able to pass the test in the very least.)
As for lesson preparation and planning….
I am not a believer in an abundance of “teachable moments.” I find that they’re much too random to be useful and powerful. AND, teachable moments are based upon the kids bringing up a certain topic or idea that prompts the teachable moment. I don’t want to rely on the kids to be the giver of the teachable moment! I want to make sure that they are going to get it! So, part of lesson preparation and planning is figuring out what the teaching will LOOK like, not just what will be delivered. I know for sure that teachers that spend time thinking about HOW they’ll teach the lesson, are more likely to have successful lessons. Leaving it up to chance or just focusing on WHAT they’ll teach? Not our best bet.
It’s not until we have management, engagement and a well-prepped lesson that we can focus on how cleanly and effectively we deliver the lesson.
We do not do ourselves or our kids any favors when we skip right to the delivery! The power is in the “before.”