Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Great Teachers Are Power Brokers" Schmidt Chapter 2

What exactly is "eptness?" Eptness is a word that describes completely my desires for the culture that I cultivate in my classroom. I beleive that a classroom is a community that works as a whole to journey towards educational achievement. It means that I surrender control, apathy, and dullness that can exist in a school setting. In a culture of eptness, students take on the roles of both learners and guides. Everyone shares in the decision making processes involved in learning. They are students that see any obstacle as a chance to shine. Real-world issues are seamlessly integrated in an ept classroom. In the second chapter of "Classroom Confidential," Schmidt introduces many key behaviors on how a teacher can promote a classroom culture of eptness. 

The first behavior is to "model being a learner." She shares that students often have misconceptions that teachers know everything and have all of the answers. It is up to us to challenge students and help them to see that we too are constantly learning. That is the role of our brains. I will do this by remarking on the times when I learn something new, modeling the questions that I might have about something we are about to do, and bring in things like books or newspapers to show students that I am always taking in new information. 

Another behavior is to "model risk taking." It is so important to teach students that public learning is risky, mistakes happen, and we learn and grow from the mistakes we make. It will be easier to handle if they have seen an adult model how they might deal with failing. I will do this by making students aware of the new things I am trying with them in class, and if things don't go well, discuss it with them. I will use language that promotes this like: "We may be wrong, but let's try anyways." 

A final behavior to promote eptness that I would like to try is to "challenge old habits." This can be difficult because it may be difficult to plan ahead for, but it involves realizing that many habits exist in school that have no benefit at all to the students. It means having an awareness of the moment you realize how monotonous you may be and can incorporate new ways to change things up. This is something that I will continue to work on. This semester, I'd love to incorporate some new thing to do during the class bathroom breaks instead of just sit silently or read. 

I do know that I want to strive every day for a culture of eptness in my classroom. I want to advocate for imagination and curiousity. I want to be partners with students in learning. There is a handy self assessment on page 37 that I plan to check to see how much I grow in this area in the future. 

1 comment:

  1. Good thoughts on eptness.

    You chose three strong behaviors to use in your classroom. I look forward to reading how you are incorporating these.

    Very good reflection.