Today’s #AprilBlogaDay post is on the topic of transparency.
How transparent should our teaching profession be?
Transparency generally implies openness, communication, and accountability.
I think it is more a question that should read something like, “How involved should every interest group (teachers, parents and students) be when it comes to education.”
Teachers should be transparent and share their students learning. Give parents the place to view, comment, follow along and interact with their child’s learning. This blog is a place where I am being pretty transparent with my thinking about educational topics. You are my audience and are hearing what I think about education of the students I learn with. This gives my audience a chance to interact. Do they? Not really, but I don’t ask them to enough. I need to make this more an expectation to involve themselves in our learning.
Parents should be involved in the learning process. This involvement tends to shrink as their children get older. In Kindergarten, the parents see the learning by students bringing papers, pictures, paintings, etc home and they fill refrigerators with their visible learning! Isn’t that a warm and fuzzy feeling when you think about that? By the middle grades, life gets full, busy, and visible learning has a different (less Fridge-worthy) look to it. The learning needs an audience to connect to. Parents should be active in the learning probably even more than during the early years. Teachers need to make that happen by opening up the classroom walls and making the student work visible and accessible to parents and sometimes to a larger audience. Online gradebooks give the tiniest of glimpses into the learning (%’s and Grades) but what else do they show? Having my students create, blog, show their thinking, and share their thinking with their parents & a broader audience makes their learning more authentic.
Students should be more and more the center of the learning process. This seems like a silly obvious statement. Rubrics aren’t good enough. They take the ownership of learning from the students and keeps it in the hands of their teacher, who should be more of a “guide on the side.” I need to make rubrics more guides for my students. I have been not using rubrics at all but they have their positive aspects. Rubrics are teachers showing students how to work through the process, but sometimes they show EXACTLY how to do the work, without giving freedom to be Fridgeworthy! That Fridgeworthy work looks different by the middle grades and become “conversation-worthy.” Students are eager to share their thoughts, ideas, confusions, curiosities with parents and teachers. But do we give them that actual time?
In our classroom, we do work that is visible, but not Fridgeworthy enough. I want my students to be able to visibly see their learning and share that with their parents. This is much, oh so much, better than just checking the online grade book to see the % or Letter grade. Our learning is very conversation worthy, but I want them both. This is my biggest challenge.
That is the largest task I am learning, researching, trying, failing quite a bit. But, failure is just failing if you stop trying. I will not stop trying, asking, questioning, and getting feedback to make learning accessible, personal, and worthy of space on either your fridge or your dinner conversation.