What Practices Have No Place in Today’s Classroom?

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What Practices Have No Place in Today’s Classroom?

“What classroom (pedagogical) practices have no place in today’s classroom?” This was a question  T. J. Locke, the ever-thoughtful Head of School at Episcopal Academy just outside of Philadelphia, posed a few days ago to a list of colleagues.  He is going to compile the results, but I thought I would share my quick brain dump to this really provocative prompt.  Are these all elements of pedagogy? Maybe some purists would argue that some are not.  But I thought about what I look for when I am asked to observe a classroom and comment on “what has changed and what has stayed the same?” My list contains few absolutes; as T.J. said in his email to us, “I can probably even find a reason to use a Scantron”.  My list is more of a “re-balancing” than a “get rid of” list:

  • Teachers asking more questions than students
  • Teachers using the same course outline for many years in a row
  • Teachers lecturing for large parts of their allotted time
  • Teachers always leading discussions rather than asking students to lead
  • Teachers teaching the same subject or sub-subject year after year (lacks growth)
  • Teachers selecting themes or directions of focus without engaging students in the selection.
  • Courses built around short periods of time
  • Courses built around single, isolated subjects
  • Students sitting for most of a class period
  • Students sitting in the same place every day
  • Furniture that never or rarely moves
  • Projects/papers that meet requirements in only one subject course
  • Students answering questions one at a time, directed at the teacher
  • Students working primarily on their own rather than in groups
  • Students working primarily at their desks rather than in groups, on walls, in hallways, or in other spaces.
  • Walls covered with posters and “stuff” when they could be used as active, visible working spaces.
  • Storing lots of things in the classroom that rarely get touched or used.
  • Textbooks (often out of date) as primary source material
  • Camping in the classroom when many other learning opportunities lie just outside or beyond.
  • Pop quizzes
  • Curriculum with largely predictable outcomes and answers
  • Largely consumption; rarely creation
  • Failing to use recent brain research in how we learn
  • Failing to use community resources in the classroom and in the curriculum
  • Failing to incorporate simple elements of mindfulness into class routines
  • Lack of flexibility in the student-teacher classroom ratio
  • Reliance on large quantities of homework

What is on your list?  Do you think about these elements of your teaching practice? Are you open to opportunities to change your practice if it leads to greater student engagement in learning? If you add your list in the comments section I will pass them on to T.J. for his compilation.

By | 2015-02-05T15:29:45+00:00 February 5th, 2015|21C Skills, Innovation in Education|7 Comments

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