Last Monday, I shadowed a high school student. I realized that there is a big difference when it comes to compliance and actual learning in the classroom. Unfortunately, as the role of the teacher, it’s easy to get lost somewhere between the two based on our own experiences of how we were taught.
Most teachers were concerned with compliance which looks like:
- Being Still
- Being Quiet
- Being Orderly
I will have to admit, it was very difficult for me to sit for 50 minutes times 7 and not talk, not to mention sitting still. I caught myself a few times having side conversations with the other students to get their views on the topic or to help me understand the lesson. Many of the teachers did not map out the class objective: "By the end of class today you will be able to..... Keep in mind that you as the teacher always know the map and how each lesson falls in that map, remember to COMMUNICATE that to the students each and every day.
Continue to remember what learning and engagement looks like:
- Students asking each other questions to figure out a solution to a problem.
- Higher-order thinking skills in action.
- Movement, and sometimes noise.
- Respect for one another while speaking or listening.
- Sharing ideas and opinions on topics and concepts with a partner or group every ten minutes or so.
We want kids to be active in learning. We want kids to enjoy coming to our classes and learning.
Compliance comes with rapport. We want active learning and engagement followed by compliance with our classroom expectations for each other. Of course we are going to have moments when kids need to be still and quiet for various reasons.
Respecting all students for who they are is one of the first steps. Setting appropriate expectations and sticking to them consistently will cater to our new version of compliance, too. Allowing students to take some accountability and responsibility for their work and actions within the classroom sets everyone up for success in the moment and into the future. There’s no reason to make anyone’s life any more difficult than it truly needs to be.
What are some of the ways you get your students engaged?