I just finished Kylene Beers and Robert Probst's Disrupting Thinking. I keep thinking about page 103 in the text, where they discuss the idea of "research-based practices" and how many of us "are willing to ignore what we know from research."
They mention teaching grammar in isolation, spelling lists, lack of conferring in writing classrooms, monologic talk, prescribing novels without choice--the list goes on and on.
I get frustrated because I hear from other teachers often excuses for why they do these things. And even I have felt forced to resort to some of these practices at times because it's what kids have been conditioned to expect at school. It is amazing how quiet a classroom can be when you give every student a worksheet. And if compliance is our end goal, then a worksheet works. But if we want students to undertake meaningful work that's often the work supported by best practices, we're going to have to be willing to get a whole lot more uncomfortable with what we're doing with our kids.
That might mean we fail.
That might mean we get frustrated.
That might mean we have to seriously question what we thought to be true about teaching and learning.
Because at the end of the day, it isn't about us. It's about kids.
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