The school structures we present to teachers can sometimes resemble two extremes. In the first set of circumstances, teachers have enormous autonomy over what they teach, when they teach it, and how they teach it. In the second, they have almost no choices whatsoever. The texts are all provided, along with the objectives, the script, and the pacing guide. I am not sure that either of these working conditions are sustainable longterm. Obviously, no one enjoys being told exactly what to do. It conveys a lack of trust and respect. But it is an awesome responsibility to be told that everything is up to you. When we live in a culture that continually reinforces the idea that the longterm success of every student is tied to a single teacher's priorities, words, and actions, this is a recipe for burnout. Are there practices that provide room for creativity without placing an unreasonable burden on individual teachers? How might teachers' aims inform their choices? How can all teachers facilitate deeper learning in a sustainable way? In Learning That Lasts: Challenging, Engaging, and Empowering Students with Deeper Instruction
(Jossey-Bass, 2016) Ron Berger and co-authors, Libby Woodfin
and Anne Vilen, outline instructional moves, lesson structures, and discussion protocols that ask more from students and work in a variety of teaching contexts.
Woodfin joins New Books in Education
for the interview. You can find more information about her work with Expeditionary Learning on its website
Trevor Mattea is an educational consultant and speaker. His areas of expertise include deeper learning, parent involvement, project-based learning, and technology integration. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @tsmattea.