Leadership in teaching

A habit of mine of late is to read articles from the NY Times on my iPhone (the application allows you to view the most emailed articles).  This article, building a better teacher, explores the work of Doug Lemov set out in Lemov’s Taxonomy

One part of the NY Times piece reads: 

Central to Lemov’s argument is a belief that students can’t learn unless the teacher succeeds in capturing their attention and getting them to follow instructions. Educators refer to this art, sometimes derisively, as “classroom management.” The romantic objection to emphasizing it is that a class too focused on rules and order will only replicate the power structure; a more common view is that classroom management is essential but somewhat boring and certainly less interesting than creating lesson plans. While some education schools offer courses in classroom management, they often address only abstract ideas, like the importance of writing up systems of rules, rather than the rules themselves. Other education schools do not teach the subject at all. Lemov’s view is that getting students to pay attention is not only crucial but also a skill as specialized, intricate and learnable as playing guitar.

The Lemov’s Taxonomy work then offers practical steps for this specialised skill.  This direction seems to offer significant potential for improving education across Australia, particularly regional and remote areas and in areas where there are unique circumstances and challenges (such as Central Australia).  In areas where there are also the added challenge of school attendance (and not just ‘best practice’ within schools) there appears to be a long way to go, but improving outcomes in areas where school attendance is strong is often not our focus, and to our detriment. 

The work at StongerSmarter and of Dr Chris Sarra is the Australian version of this direction, yet perhaps with an added focus given the unique circumstances here.


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