Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Teaching Tip #96

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #96

Let your students feel like they have a seat at the adult table when it comes to building culture, designing policies, and devising assignments.

This builds off of the previous post.  

You remember what it was like at holiday gatherings when you were relegated to the kids’ table.  Then finally you experienced the rite of passage of being big enough to have a seat at the adults’ table where you had to step up your manners (please and thank you were musts) and your skills (you actually had to pass the food and dish it for yourself unlike when you were at the kids’ table and your mother brought you your plate with your favorite food on it).

How can we give our students a seat at the adults’ table, so to speak, in our class?

I try to do this in a few ways -

I have them help me set the core values for the year.  

I challenge them to then hold me accountable for personifying the core values.  

I also challenge them to not only hold their peers acceptable for the core values but to also call them out (usually on social media) when they see them personifying the core values.  

I also ask for their input when devising assignments.  I’ll often give them several options for an assessment - they can write an essay OR develop an infographic OR they can devise a Prezi OR they can create a Youtube video.  Choice and input are vital.

I’ll listen to their input on due dates.  For example, when we have professional week in College Comp 2 (where students have to dress up for a whole week . . . this is something most dislike by the way), I ask them what week would work best.  They try to have it coincide when they have the most home games so they will be dressed up anyway.

It’s not perfect, but one of the things that I think students will tell you they enjoy most about my classes is the culture that is created.

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