We all know why we are teachers and our schools have a very clear Vision and Mission which we all accept. We would like our students to leave school as values-driven, empowered young people, prepared for tertiary studies, and ready to take up a leadership role in society. By working with our students, we hope to transform not only their lives, but also our society.
So, we all know why we do what we do in the classroom. Isn’t it obvious? It is what we do in the classroom that brings about the transformation we desire in society. Or is it so obvious? Do we have a theory of change?
Try answering these questions without mentioning marks and exams:
- Do we know how our classroom practice will actually empower and transform?
- Do we know what success looks like and how to measure it?
- How do we adequately prepare our students for the 4th Industrial Revolution? Are our current practices going to transform them sufficiently?
- How do we harness technology and use it to transform lives, rather than letting it stultify and enslave?
We really need to discuss and find answers to all these questions if we are to make the radical and far-reaching impact we passionately desire for our world.
A group of Australian teachers was asked how frequently they assign the kind of tasks that foster Cognitive Activation. The percentage of teachers responding to each kind of task are given in this infographic.
How frequently do you assign tasks like these? For example:
- do you use an open-ended “do now” activity that relates to the lesson ahead, rather than one which is just a mini-test on what was taught previously?
- have you tried the Question Formulation Technique (QFT)?
- have you taken the responsible risk of assigning a task where you genuinely have no idea what the students might come up with?
- do you use technology as a way of fostering cognitive activation?