The process of improving education for everyone is a journey, not just a goal. With things as vital as great teaching and effective learning, teachers and students can benefit from a positive mindset of constant growth and development. According to Folwell Dunbar, the founder of Fire Up Learning, there’s a whole list of things we can start doing anytime to see immediate results in improving education.
In the Edutopia article 50 Little Things Teachers, Parents, and Others Can Do to Improve Education, Folwell lists 50 things we can practice to begin improving education right now. It’s the little things, he says, that make all the difference.
“While big, bold initiatives sound good, look pretty (cost a lot), and usually grab all the press, it’s the unheralded acts that, in the end, deliver results …”
It’s true; the little things make a big difference over time. The small steps we take today can have a huge impact tomorrow. Learn more about the small things (and some bigger things) Folwell suggests for improving education in his full article on Edutopia.
Which things from Folwell’s list are you using in your practices? Which ones would you like to try? What do you think might be missing from the list? Share it with us below.
50 Little Things for Improving Education
- Serve kids a good, healthy breakfast.
- Find out what your kids like and incorporate them into your instruction.
- Allow kids to explore topics that really matter to them.
- Use big words and encourage kids to do the same.
- Ask questions that involve thoughtful answers.
- Give kids time to answer those hard questions.
- Discuss paintings, films, books, plays, etc.
- In your discussions, expect more than “It was awesome!” or “That sucked.”
- Model the use of proper English (or Spanish, German, Chinese, etc.).
- Adopt efficient routines and procedures.
- Remove erasers: time spent erasing is time lost exploring creative ideas.
- When watching television, turn on the closed captioning.
- Make TV interactive by discussing the shows you watch.
- Post the name of the book(s) you’re reading on the door to your classroom or at home. Enthusiasm is infectious.
- Post things that inspire and ignite the imagination.
- Celebrate learning frequently.
- Create quiet and comfortable learning sanctuaries in school and at home.
- Provide feedback that’s constructive and actionable.
- Assign homework that is meaningful and engaging.
- Encourage kids to keep journals they write in every day.
- Tell and listen to stories.
- Be consistent with rules. Children flourish when they know their boundaries.
- Listen to and discuss all kinds of music
- Display student work, along with the criteria used to evaluate it.
- Use mnemonic devices and other learning “tricks.”
- Read with your child for at least 15 minutes every night, if not longer.
- Discuss, question, and debate what you read.
- Read and write just for fun.
- Keep pets and plants at home and in the classroom.
- Eliminate unnecessary distractions during the school day.
- Constantly relate what is being taught to the real world.
- Listen to audio books whenever and wherever possible.
- Allow kids time to reflect on what they’ve learned.
- Provide positive reinforcement whenever possible.
- Call on students in an equitable manner (popsicle sticks, playing cards, etc.).
- Find, bookmark, and visit great educational websites.
- Explore interesting areas in your community.
- Play intellectually challenging games like Scrabble, chess, and Sudoku.
- Take an interest in what children are learning.
- Eat well-rounded, healthy snacks.
- Have real conversations while dining. (Foreign Language tables can be fun!)
- Don’t stress out.
- Exercise regularly, and make it fun.
- Play sports of every kind.
- Don’t complain – it rarely does any good.
- Set high standards for yourself and your kids, and expect success.
- Travel as much as possible.
- Make sure your kids (and you) get a good night’s sleep.
- Practice what you teach.
- Smile a lot!