Monday, March 24, 2014

The Art and Science of Teaching

All in all, I've done a pretty good job at conducting teacher observations this year. I've done even better with the feedback and reflection process thanks to PD360 and my iPad. In 90% of the observations I have conducted this year, I have been able to type up the entire observation and submit it while I'm sitting in the classroom. I then check my calendar in my iPad, and send the teacher an invitation to the post-observation conference that will take place in a day or two. Sure, this means I am spending more time in the classroom, but wait...isn't that the point anyways?

A couple of weeks ago, I observed a particularly awesome math class. What made it this way? It was an absolutely perfect combination of art and science. I don't mean it was an art class that explored science concepts. That would have been pretty awesome too. Actually it was a 6th grade math class. I truly believe that there is an art and a science to teaching, and just like the very best artists and scientists, the very best teachers are masters of their craft, and are passionate about what they are teaching.

The science of this lesson was evident in this teacher's content knowledge, organizational skills, creation of supplemental materials, and instructional delivery. What made this lesson a work of art is that she was absolutely cognizant of her students, and was able to switch gears in order to meet their needs. There was a point during the lesson during which students were using tracing paper to conceptualize rotation of a triangle on a coordinate plane. They were in the process of solving a problem during independent practice when one of her students offered another solution to the problem. Not only did she ask higher level questions to ensure the student was aware of the process, she also stepped aside to allow him to come up to the document camera so that he could show the class what he had come up with. You could see the lightbulbs going off in the heads of the other students in the class! They were asking questions about the student's method, and even offered alternative solutions of their own. Where some teachers may have just acknowledged the student's findings and moved on, this teacher recognized the contribution of this student and empowered him to share his discovery with the class.

Can you teach awesomeness? I'm not entirely sure. This teacher is absolutely passionate about her subject area, and that passion is infectious. This teacher also had the self confidence to release the responsibility of teaching and learning to her students. She combined her passion with her expertise, and as a result, something magical happened.

Passion + Expertise x confidence  = awesomeness

...or something like that!

No comments:

Post a Comment