Flipping the Teacher

As educators slowly transition into a more progressive form of pedagogy and assessment our role changes  in many ways.  We become less of an instructor and more of a guide.  We become less a "teacher", and more of a student. The dynamic of how we work is also changing.  In a conversation with my consigliere, Joey Till, he pointed out exactly what we are doing--we are flipping the teacher.

In the 20th Century it was very typical for teachers to put together their lessons while they were in school--preparing materials, making copies, etc.  Of course, teachers worked at home too---usually grading papers of some kind.  What we are doing now flips our work dynamic.  I sit on my wonderfully comfortable couch and put my lessons together.  On nice days, I like to sit outside and smell the flowers and listen to the birds while I think of interesting projects and ways to breath some life into my otherwise boring content standards.

While I'm in school I spend a great deal of time "grading".  Of course, I don't mean I grading papers.  I sit down with groups or individuals and use conversations as formative assessment.  When its time to decide on a grade, we have another conversation.  I ask content questions.  We look at the requirements, I tell them my formative observations, and they decide an appropriate grade, which is almost always right where I think they should be.  Another way I am increasingly "grading" in school is using student presentations.  I blogged about the instructional value of student presentations, but obviously this is also a good time for assessment.

Some of the teachers I have worked with express concern about the additional planning time that  project-based curriculum may require.  Some of the worry could be relieved if they learn that "grading" doesn't mean sifting through stacks of papers at home every night. 

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