I wonder if there can be a life lesson from our grandmothers for quality teaching that all could follow, something like ‘don’t count your chickens. . .’ or ‘a bird in the hand. . .’ and ‘a stitch in time. . .’? It is difficult to believe I could gather all the words that might mean something to everyone, yet a friend recently told me to remember that ‘broccoli is as important as pie’, and it struck me that it approaches an idea that works beautifully when identifying the quality teaching needed in classrooms. Students who improve consistently in their classes have teachers who cook and serve the broccoli well. I could also call this ‘healthy meal planning’, what good cooks do often. The teachers are passionate about learning, for themselves as well as for their work; know their subject matter well, add to the set curriculum, and often break into new areas when the need is evident. They ‘serve’ the broccoli in a variety of ways, teaching what students need but satifying ‘tastebuds’ too. And then there is the pie. These same teachers who satisfy requirements for the healthy aspects of broccoli also manage at the same time to serve sumptuous pies in their classrooms. Here students are able to choose from a variety of tastes when teachers offer a wide array of possibilities for learning. The teachers sweeten the learning by respecting that their students will make wise choices again and again, especially when they have been taught the background experiences to make informed decisions.
Just thinking. . .