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June 03

Gail Brown

Teaching with integrity, Part 1…

  • Mon 7th Jan 2013
  • Gail

This week’s blog is about how we teach our students, and implementing materials and instruction with integrity. I still find it amazing that the exact same content and instructional materials can be implemented VERY differently by two different teachers – and yet, I probably shouldn’t find this so amazing when I think more about it?

Let me explain what I mean here…

Say, for example, a school starts using some new materials, or a new approach. Some teachers will know more, and others will know less about this new approach –here’s our first difference in implementation rearing its head. Our background knowledge and prior experience affects what we do, as well as how well we learn.

So, some teachers at that school (with lots of background knowledge or experiences) will start using this new approach or program, and it will fit right in with they way they teach, with their views on learning and with how they translate these views into their classroom. Other teachers won’t – not because they don’t “want to” – simply because this is so new to them, they have little or no knowledge about this and are overwhelmed by all of the new features, ideas and strategies in this new approach.

This affects the “integrity of implementation” for that new approach or program. Let’s stop, and think about that term, and what each word means, one word, “integrity” – as a word out of context, its synonyms include truthfulness, honesty, and veracity. And, “implementation” has synonyms like application, execution and enactment When used together, our perspective focuses on context of classroom teaching. and how each teacher behaves differently as they start to “enact” that new program or approach.

Then, it’s not so surprising that there’s differences across classrooms, not at all. Also, any change occurs, people learn at different rates and over time, it’s possible that teachers will begin to implement in similar ways, as they become more familiar with this change.

My take-away from writing this, for me and maybe for you, is that change is gradual and differs across learners – not just for our students, for us as teachers as well.

My second take-away, and this should be a consistent message from me and my blogs, is that knowing about evidence-based research underpinning any approach, program or resource is crucial. If this change has worked somewhere else, then chances are it will work in my school – and it’s important to be open to trying this “new approach” – whatever it is, and whether I know or agree with it – or not.

Being open to learning is the best thing for both us, as teachers, and for our students – that’s what makes this lifelong journey of learning and teaching so enjoyable – you might not know exactly what is around the corner, just being open to trying this, especially if it’s already worked somewhere else!

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