05 July 2008

Something New Under the Sun

Good teachers want their students to be more than sponges, absorbing information. They want students to think and use that information: remix things into something new. Great teachers find ways to facilitate that process and make kids bloom with creativity.

But how should we support these behaviours in one another?

Teaching---if done well---is an inherently creative process. A one-size-fits-all lesson plan used year after year is not enough to reach every child who walks through the classroom door. Technology affords us new ways to engage students and elicit high-quality evidence of learning. Educational research clues us in on ways to refine our craft.

I like to think that those educators who blog are taking things a step further. In choosing to share your inside views of the profession, you're setting an example for others about meaningful reflection. But even more importantly, you show that you're willing to take a creative risk...to go beyond the four walls of the school and connect with others. You have great things to share and say and I appreciate all that I get to learn from you.

I've recently been wondering about the importance of sharing our learning in more traditional formats. Until this year, I hadn't made a formal presentation at a conference since 1996. That's a long stretch of time where I attended workshops, conferences, and conventions...and gave nothing back. I do a lot of writing here (this is post #1163), but could I have more of an impact on classroom grading practices if I expanded the media I use? Blog posts are "quick writes" for me---not much more than drafts. But should I clean up a few and offer them for publication through ASCD, Education Week, or other journals open for teacher submissions? I think about writing a book---one which focuses on how to increase the intrinsic motivation of students through cues in the classroom environment.

So, I'm challenging myself this summer to send out three articles/commentaries for publication. I fully expect to receive three rejection letters for my attempts, but that is all right. I have all the opportunity I could want for self-publishing right here in this space. In an odd way, my goal is not seeing my name in a magazine, but rather to stretch my personal boundaries a bit and put myself out there for a different kind of feedback. I can show myself that I do have more to share---and that can happen beyond this space (if only in workshops and presentations I give).

What should teachers be doing, if anything, to show that they have developed something new under the sun?

1 comment:

Hugh O'Donnell said...

Hey SG, Get in touch with the acquisitions people from ASCD. (I mean a phone call instead of a letter.) They're always interested in new proposals, and they have to be getting tired of the same old authors recycling concepts with new names!

If they expressed interest in my offerings, surely they'd jump at a chance to see your stuff! :)