Posted by: Nesha Milicevic
In Chapter 6 “Lecturing Creatively” in his book “The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom”, author Stephen D. Brookfield discusses the alignment of teaching practice to different learning styles through “creative” lecturing.
Teachers play a very important role in the learning process and development of Students. Creative teaching can be described as something that impacts improved Student achievements, effecting outcomes that matter to their future success. It is very complex, but it can be summarized by saying that the progress of a Student is something that we should use to assess the quality of the teacher. The Students performance is something that heavily impacts ones teaching method. In order to be successful, you need to convert the classroom into a competent, enthusiastic and accountable environment, and keep Students constantly engaged and motivated. An adaptable and well-managed strategy delivers a proven and practical way to create a culture of high performance, ongoing development and a commitment to high quality performance. In a best practices-based approach, you want to create a culture that says: How much can I learn if I stay open to the possibility of learning from all that is around me? For performance programs to be successful, it is important that both the Students and the teachers understand that conversations about performance are not a “once in a blue moon” event. Teachers have to clearly understand that working with Students on performance is an ongoing process that plays a critical role in Students satisfaction and success, and that it is a two way street: Students need to be very much involved in assessing the program, each other, and their teacher, and provide constant feedback on this. Students are taught that true leadership is shown through formal and informal interactions and their ability to connect the vision to the team or group, and more importantly how they react in the moment. They should be mentored on leadership clarity and on where Students and teachers need to be consistent, and where they have latitude to change messaging.
We need to implement a very careful teacher evaluation system, which will be based on continuous assessment and feedback, rather than accountability. In order to do that, a variety of measures should be incorporated, using different sources and methods. The first step is information gathering. It can be used for a variety of different reasons; however, the main benefit is that one will become aware of more diverse sources, opinions and approaches which can only enhance the planning process. Student focus is when everyone agrees on what is important and planning flows evenly. Important goals are key to supporting the overall goals of the Students and teachers. Everyone needs to self-correct and change direction to improve results, and results occur, which is the yardstick by which everything should be judged. For an evaluation system to come together and move forward, all the people involved need to have a common understanding of the mission, and practical understanding of the consequences of failure and the benefits of success. It needs to be clearly determined where they want to be, and then take the necessary steps to get there. Effective measurement and accountability is usually dependent on three factors: what is expected, what is an acceptable standard of performance, and a method of measurement that communicates the level of performance against the acceptable standard.
Planning should be relatively simple, set with realistic goals and what is most important for the learning progress. This can be accomplished by setting a few major pillars and then focusing on implementing strategies within those pillars. The other important factor is to “stick to the plan” and this often involves knowing what not to do. It is very important to set a time frame when reviews should be done; but typically it should be ongoing formal and informal feedback from both sides. A huge part of it is effectively measuring the progress and accountability, and this is why key performance indexes should be clearly indicated. This is very important in determining what you are doing and whether you need to make any adjustments. When it comes to learning outcomes, it is crucial to have a vision and plan going forward. In my opinion, there is no single best way of doing the planning, an alignment needs to be created that will bring the classroom together. Not everyone can see things the same way, and often times the results are not clearly visible. This is where the two way feedback and assessment plays a very important role.
Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Wiley.