Teachers Need to Talk to Learn
Whoever does the talking, does the learning. So who talks in your staff meetings, professional development, and classrooms? Ever since the really cool invention of projectors, there has been a serious and sad condition called, “Death by PowerPoint” in staff meetings worldwide.
But don’t worry, there is good news! We have a cure! There are a few steps you can take to prevent this horrible condition.
Whoever Does the Talking Does the Learning
Really consider who you want to grow and learn. If it’s the teachers, and you are presenting the whole time, well…then…you got it…you are the one learning. The audience is probably NOT learning in a very effective manner. But you say, “I have so much information to share!” I hate to be the one to break it to you, but they aren’t really listening… They may be looking at you and possibly even taking notes, but they aren’t really hearing your message.
I’m giving you permission to significantly reduce the amount of presenting you do in any meeting for the rest of your life! Get in with your part and get out. Teachers and students should be the ones talking about the content, learning through collaboration, and actually doing the activities that will help them make connections to their background experiences.
Consider using specific methods when planning their learning, such as Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures and Baldrige Continuous Improvement strategies. These are not only very effective in providing clear directions, but they also model best practices for teachers to use with students.
It can’t be “sit and get.” It should be “move and groove!” Movement engages the body which engages the mind. It also allows adrenaline and endorphin to kick in and help keep the participants focused. Humans are built to move and to do. Sitting for long periods of time is tough, and for some of us, it’s near impossible. Most of what we need to do can be done out of chairs, walking around, and switching between groups. The more you do it, the more your team will appreciate it and stay engaged.
I know it’s called “work,” but it’s ok, you are allowed to have fun and enjoy your time together with your team. Create special moments through games, reflective activities, and skits. Of the three tips in this article, this is the most difficult because it’s easy to get side-tracked. Don’t add “fun” in at the expense of your goals for the meeting. Try to add at least one fun each time you meet, but it must be aligned with your learning objectives.
This post is inspired by my staff who gave up precious time this week for meetings when they had a million things to do to prepare for students. Our administrative team really felt that we had to honor this sacrifice with purposeful and inspiring activities. They deserve our best. No excuses.
Leaders & teachers, practice what you preach! Don’t give in to the easy, old school practices. Be better for your teachers and for your students. It is NOT more work. In fact, once you inject yourself with this cure, you will have more engagement, more fun, and may even burn a few more calories!