Sunday, October 2, 2016

Student Shadow

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.
  • Collaboration
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?


  1. It seems difficult at first to "step outside the box" of your regular routine-BUT when you do it (and there are people here that help) it is so fun and such an eye opening experience. I began first navigating between Google Classroom and Digital Readworks-today I am collaborating with a high school student who will help facilitate my children through another tech portal (Slide) to create book reports by using technology (and one I myself have NEVER experienced). It's a blast-just let go and see what happens! If you fail, or fall short-one of two things happens: the kids will pick you up and get you going again or you can start fresh another day!

    1. You are the true definition of a life long learner! :)

  2. This is Amazing! Thanks so much Michelle for participating in this activity. As we work to foster student-centered environments, it is very important that we know what are students experience daily. It is also helpful to know what students want and need in their learning experiences. Oftentimes, we do teach in the same manner that we were taught. Let's keep in mind that today's learners are technology natives and they don't necessarily do well with "sit and get". Adults become bored after sitting a few hours also. Thanks for sharing with me.

  3. I think the best way to get students engage is to vary instructional methods and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of students. This often means a lot of prep and all classes doing different lessons and/or activities but this is the best way I've found to engage students.