• Josh Arnold

Classroom and Teaching Makeovers

After a few sessions at #FETC this week one thing is clear...if you want to transform your classroom you are the driving force. If you want to change the way you have to find something that works for your students. If you want to change the environment in the are the one to clear the air. If you want get it.

Changing your classroom approach starts with a system that works

Every classroom has a system that the teacher has crafted to fit the needs of the current students. Picking what will work and taking the time to learn how it works is the trick. In my own classroom I have picked design thinking and project based learning to be part of my system. At the start of the year you roll out the system to your students and throughout the year you keep working on the system to help your students succeed. This doesn’t have to be exactly what you read in a book. Make sure you change the system to make it work for you. If you are a slave to the system you pick it is not the right system for you.

Start by asking questions of your students

In a number of sessions this week and in my own reflections (#system) I have noticed that getting your students on board starts with asking them questions. Questions to ask include: What do you like about school? What do you want to change about school? What works for you? How can I help you succeed? Your students may not have answers ready for you but it still sends the signal that they matter. To really change the classroom you need your students on your side.

Change the setup of your classroom change your teaching

Just start moving desks. Remove your desk from the classroom. Decrease the size of your footprint in the classroom and increase the size of the students footprint in the classroom. Start a DonorsChoose, look for teaching grants, anything that will begin the change in your classroom. It won’t happen overnight and it you will have to be happy taking small steps. Get rid of old student desks and put comfortable seating in its place. Students will look forward to coming into your classroom. Flexible seating is only a temporary name for what the 21st century classroom could and should look like.

Developing a change mindset

At each EdCamp, technology conference or teaching symposium the topics are different but the attitude is the same. Teachers talk about the accomplishments they have made and the push back that sometimes comes from it. Each of these teachers shows enough of the change mindset to show their plan through and continue to grow to serve the needs of their own teachers. Show this attitude by growing and choosing what works for you and your students.

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