Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #35
If you’re looking for an engaging listen or for some professional development, the Entreleadership podcast has been my go to for three years now. There is no question I’m a better teacher because of it.
This episode is spectacular: Andy Andrews – How Small Changes Help You Win.
Andrews works with business moguls, NFL and NCAAF coaches, and everyone in between to help them improve their business and coaching strategies.
I believe that teaching is coaching and vice versa, so when I saw this episode on my podcast app, my ears perked up.
And I hit the mother load.
Andrews’ take is not revolutionary by any means. You can boil it down to this – if you want to get results that are different than everyone else, then you have to do what everyone else isn’t doing.
Sounds simple, right?
But here is the catch: the best way to do this is to start with small – seemingly insignificant changes. Think of Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point here.
So what little changes can you enact that – over time and done with enough consistently – that will pay huge dividends down the road.
Here are the little things that I have changed over the past few years that have had the greatest impact on my teaching, the culture of my classroom, and impacted students the most.
Note --- none of these are world changing. If I can’t do them, anyone can.
Small change #4 – Use Google Drives (and Docs) to give instant feedback on writing assignments.
This was part of a PLC projects I did for UND a few years ago. This has changed my teaching more than just about anything.
In years past (and think back to how you were taught in your English and composition classes) students would write a rough draft (or type it up) and then physically submit it to me. Then I’d take it home and respond to it and get it back to the students a few days later. By then the momentum is gone.
Students have to decipher my chicken scratch and try to remember what they were writing on.
Now, instead, I have students use Google Docs to begin composing in class in front of me. Then, since they have all shared their Docs with me, I can access them and drop in on them during the composing process.
In other words, I can give them feedback instantly.
If a student is stuck with a lead, I can offer several suggestions right in front of them.
If a student has a topic but doesn’t know where to go, I can take over and show them what I’d do with their topic if I were them. Then they can use that as a model to start their own paper. I’ll return to the piece a few minutes later and erase what I wrote for them.
I have seen so much improvement in their writing. The feedback is instant and so focused.
It’s a tiny change, but this has totally transformed how I teach writing.