WHAT is a good teaching strategy? It’s a plan for someone else’s learning. It encompasses the presentation of materials the teacher might make, the activities and exercises they designed for the students, providing access to resources and tools needed to develop a growing understanding of the subject – and assess it.
Laptops and computers are not a strategy and hardly a revolution without teachers, but the steps needed to succeed are hard to articulate. We now have a fleeting opportunity to reshape schooling with long overdue public funding, yet teachers still find ‘tabbed browsing’ a new concept. This is not funny, it’s scary. They can hum the tune, but not name the song. Even experienced, successful teachers that function well inside the cognitive apprentice classroom are web novices unable to develop any effective strategy, lock-stepped by intersecting perceptions of why they can’t or won’t do as the tide of change rises ever higher.
The strategy is relatively straight forward, but obviously requires access to a group of people who are experts in dealing with this issue. If we are to capitalise on school investment – there has to be someone to call, someone to help – when you need it. This is the role of leadership – to create a culture of participation.
This is the question to put to school leaders. “How are you demonstrating this strategy in your own work and provisioning it for your staff?.”
There are five steps that I believe must occur continuously.
- Encounter the idea, concept, principle or skill
- Get to know more about it
- Try it out for yourself
- Get feedback/evaluation
- Reflect (I liked, I wondered, my next steps)
It is a cycle of transition that won’t be done simply though infrastructure – and it amazes me how easily we accept press releases from high office about size, numbers and dollars – at the absolute expense of effective professional development of teachers. No effective teaching strategy, no effective learning. This is achieved by working with people who can implement it – not just talk about it.