Teachers need at least a little part of their day to be easy. Believe it or not, these three easy steps will not only make teaching a bit easier, but it will also increase student learning.
- Be real: Too often, teachers decrease the work students have to do in an effort to save class time. But all that extra preparation takes time, often planning time. When students are responsible for all parts of making and learning, they learn important skills like project management, organization, and planning. Most importantly, the time saved could be used to do this next easy step.
- Plan to teach skills: Teachers teach skills all the time: reading strategies, math processes, mnemonics. By teaching skills in a makerspace or STEAM classroom, teachers use their instructional time wisely, because most skills can be transferred to other content areas. I am not talking about cutting cardboard or applying glue. I am referring to skills like questioning, testing, iterating, clarifying, and empathizing. This list is a great place to start, and could be the focus of lessons for extended periods of time. Imagine teaching kids how to clarify wants, needs, project aims, and success criteria. All opportunities for refining the skill of clarifying.
- Fail forward and in front: People learn through imitation. Ever watched a child learn at home? They do exactly what mom, dad, or big sis does- almost to a fault. When teachers admit they don’t know answers, or have never done something before, they demonstrate these brave learning behaviors for kids. When the teacher openly tries something new, kids watch and practice doing new, uncomfortable things too.