I wake up at night thinking about best practices in teaching. What do our kids need for their future? What do we need to provide as educators to prepare our young minds for their future? How do we shape future inventors, problem solvers, creative makers and ethical leaders? What is the best way to teach?
Andrew Molinsky, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Brandeis University, believes our leaders need to know how to code switch between cultures. Professors Davenport and Iyer from Babson College point to the importance of wielding digital influences for business leaders. Professor Cathy Davidson from Duke University talks about developing our innate skills of "continuous partial attention." While these are interesting concepts to consider for our kids, I am pleased with the innovative, real and substantive approach that our faculty takes for creating just the right learning environment for our students.
Last January, the Head-Royce curriculum committee approved a profoundly important document that describes, in broad strokes, our philosophy of teaching. It is titled the "Head-Royce Principles of Good Practice for 21st Century Teaching and Learning." As research evolves, so will our methodologies. That said, the following paragraph is of particular importance, "As Head-Royce School educators, we are dedicated to cultivating the above skills in our students and partnering with them to educate them for "their future not our past" (Pink). We will work together to stay abreast of the latest research on learning and the brain, understand nuances of student emotional development, learn and use digital technology, and continue to explore best practices for teaching and learning. Ultimately, we will create classrooms that encourage students to participate in experiential learning, take risks, view the world through multiple lenses, utilize innovative tools, and demonstrate proficiencies through a range of assessments that include real world problems and performances."
I have urged our K-12 faculty to redouble their commitment to these principles. The next step is to develop metrics and assessment methodologies to track effectiveness. As we move forward into the 21st Century, we can take advantage of new technologies, brain research, access to information and a universal belief in the importance of globalism and diversity to shape our learning community.
I have attached our teaching manifesto. Like all good guides, it is a living, evolving document that changes and innovates as we learn more. We expect to revisit, review, test and change our assumptions each year, as we learn.
We must model the best modes of learning to our kids. I look forward to sharing our ongoing learning with you. Please read our philosophy of teaching: Head-Royce Principles of Good Practice for 21st Century Teaching and Learning
Ms. Samantha A Smith
Thursday March, 22, 2012 at 02:45PM