When we talk about transforming teaching, we’re not talking about fixing what’s wrong. Instead, we’re talking about possibilities. We’re talking about taking the great work we do as teachers and making it exceptional.
It’s about exploring possibility in safe and constructive ways we’re also concerned with here. Change takes time for sure, but it needn’t always be painful. The truth is that we’re transforming teaching all the time. As the modern world shifts, our practices move naturally into exciting new realms of learning and living.
But what if you really want to make some waves? What if you want to make some truly meaningful and lasting changes in the way you teach? Look no further than the wisdom of TeachThought’s Terry Heick. His article entitled 8 Strategies To Make Lasting Change In The Way You Teach has practical advice for doing just that.
Changing One Step At a Time
Terry is the founder and director of TeachThought and has plenty of classroom experience to draw on for his work. When it comes to transforming teaching the right way, he reminds us that we must take positive action. After all, any knowledge about changing trends in education has no meaning if we don’t put ideas into action:
“You’ve likely read about something recently that caught your eye—game-based learning, a new app, a comprehensive literacy strategy … while there are many new ways to learn in our digital age, encountering new ideas is different than internalizing that thinking and working to integrate it meaningfully.”
More than ever, people are talking about education and what it means to be a teacher nowadays. Technology has changed the game permanently. As a result, the demands of learners requiring new methodologies of instruction and connection present growing challenges in the modern classroom. The average educator is inundated with Tweets, updates, blogs, and debates about how to succeed with transforming teaching. It can all seem so overwhelming at times.
As you’ll discover below from Terry’s 8 strategies, it’s not about reinventing the wheel. It’s more about realignment and preserving the tire treads for the journey ahead.
8 Ways of Transforming Teaching Now
1. Start Small: Transformation still needs to be sustainable, otherwise there’s no point in changing. Even if you have huge goals, you’re still better off beginning with little steps.
2. Start Now: The moment of change is now—not yesterday, not tomorrow, and certainly not when you’re feeling less afraid. John Burroughs had it right when he said, “Leap, and the net will appear.”
3. See Learning as a System: Adjustments need to be made when transforming teaching, as the tools you have and how you use them will transform with the landscape. Terry offers this advice: “Go with it, not blindly, but with the understanding that if you’re not adapting, you’re likely withering.”
4. Reflect: This is the final phase of Solution Fluency we call Debrief, and it’s probably the most important. Reflect on your own learning, reading, and discussions with students or colleagues. Then, when you think you’re done reflecting, reflect some more. What did you do that you could have done differently and how can that knowledge help you do better next time?
5. Collaborate: Collaboration opens up paths to new thinking and discovery, as well as making you accountable for seeing your ideas through. In other words, a little pressure can be a good thing now and then.
6. Listen to Students: Still and always your best gauge of how you’re doing with your own journey of transforming teaching. Give them a chance and be open-minded, and they will be honest, fair, and enlightening to you.
7. Stay Curious: Respond to new concepts and bold ways of thinking with a critical eye and an open heart and mind. Encourage your learners to do the exact same thing.
8. Celebrate Learning: Learning is an accomplishment, and will always be deeply personal to the one doing it. Like your students, you become a learner yourself when you work on transforming teaching. These are the most important moments in the lives of lifelong learners like you and your kids. Celebrate them well.