Wednesday 1 February 2017

Education Buzz Words Every Teacher (And Parent) Should Know

Do you speak teacherese or do you edubabble? 

There are key terms that define educational policies and should be used and implemented frequently by teachers. Knowledge and usage of these words give you an edge and sets you apart as a teacher who is aware. 

Differentiated instruction
Higher order thinking skills
Project based/inquiry based
All-inclusive classroom
Flipped Learning
Blended learning
Collaborative learning
Life- long learners
Active teaching
Personalized Learning
Assessment for learning

This list is by no means exhaustive and I have explained some below. Research is one of the hallmarks of teaching, this post is just to point you in the right direction and I hope it motivates you enough to try to find out more buzz words and use them.

Rigor : When your students find your academic instruction, tasks and expectations challenging enough, irrespective of the level they are at, the result is rigor. When you are thorough and all-inclusive you have rigor. Rigor is an educational term that has been around for a while and will help you as teacher ensure that the high flyers in your classroom do not find the work too easy, boring or not challenging enough while the low achieving students are not frustrated and pushed too hard so that they give up. With rigor, every child gets a chance to deepen their knowledge and move up from where they are to the next point.

Differentiated Instruction: Simply put, is the vehicle that drives rigor. It is an instructional technique that provides different learning options so that every child in your classroom can come to understand and own information in their 'own' way. A differentiated classroom is one that responds to the learning level of each child. Most teachers are very familiar with this term but how many teachers actually practise it in their classroom? 

Grit: Endurance, perseverance, consistency, resilience, ambition, determination, these words define any child in your classroom? If yes, then that child has got grit! Wikipedia defines grit as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals."  Children with high level of grit can succeed both in and out of the classroom, they can endure, work hard, fail and dare to try again, it is a life skill. We need to foster grit in our students by teaching them to be optimistic and emotionally-intelligent, help them realise the value in hard work and tell them stories of perseverance and never forget to celebrate every tiny step of achievement.

Tech-savvy: A 21st-century skill every teacher and student should possess since digital literacy has since taken over the chalk and talk method. Teachers should use technology in the classroom- powerpoint, google education apps, blogs, Edmodo- to achieve greater input and impact. 

Mastery: The ability of students to own and apply what has been learnt even beyoond how it was taught. Why do students do well in your class and answer assessment questions excellently right after you have finished teaching the topic but fail to succeed after a few weeks of learning or on tests? Mastery. Always aim for your students to learn for mastery by setting clear objectives, providing feedback and using different levels of questioning.  Ensure that your student has achieved mastery before moving them over to the next stage, about 80% level on a test suggests mastery then the student can move on to the next level.

Life-long learning: An educational system that cannot motivate learners enough to be learning driven beyond the classroom walls, what kind of educational system is that? Students should have the drive to know, they should be aware of the wealth of information out there and how to have access to it so that they can become better people. "When you stop learning, you die" is not a cliche and the importance of continuous learning can never be over emphasised. 

Teaching is a lifelong learning process the more we practise, the more we become better at our craft. Aim to know more but don't be a knowledge junkie- always storing up knowledge but never really putting what has been learnt to practice.

Be in the know!


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