The graphic above is fantastic, and the rest of the post doesn’t disappoint, as Michael Fenton cuts deep into his own classroom style and offers an incredibly articulate explanation of what it is that he’s looking for. It’s hard to imagine that he won’t find it before long if he keeps up this sort of careful self-analysis:
As you can sense, there’s some more bad news: Even though I’ve identified what I want to change (my teaching style) I don’t know how to get from here (“conversational direct instruction”) to there (something better than what I’m doing now), or really even where “there” is.
So here’s what I need from you. I need some help vision casting (what could my classroom look like). And maybe more importantly, I need some advice on how to get there.
And the comments are just fantastic. Here’s a brief selection:
Dan Anderson: “A small change that I’ve made that seems like it makes a big difference is the grouping of students, and me moving myself physically to the back of the room.”
Reilly: “I think that just like its easy to inflate your sense of awesomeness with honors classes, it’s also easy to inflate your sense of awfulness with regular-to-low or remedial classes.”
Gregory Taylor: “As a whole, I feel I still do a “direct instruction” style (real world activities almost make me physically uncomfortable) but where I can, I reverse it. Instead of ‘here’s the topic, here’s some examples’, start with the examples. Walk around, see how they tackle them. (I’m not necessarily at the back, but I float a lot more than I used to.) Answer questions individually rather than as a whole. Then present the topic partway through the period, referencing what you saw students do (or having them reference it themselves). This might allow you to transition your lessons to something more open without feeling you need to totally reinvent yourself.”
More good stuff over at the blog.