One passage in my favorite book of ancient wisdom says a cord of three strands is not easily broken. The interweaving of those three strands provides great overall strength and makes for a sturdy, effective cord.
In the book Questioning for Formative Feedback: Meaningful Dialogue to Improve Learning, author Jackie Acree Walsh identifies three teacher roles that can be interwoven to build a strong formative classroom (pp. 68-85):
- Lesson designer: Planning is paramount. Teachers who narrow the focus, think about how students might respond, prepare for student responses, provide additional questions, and allow for additional skill development are creating a formative classroom.
- Learning facilitator: Move from being the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side.” Communicate the goals, respond to questions, conduct check-ins with students, and let them lead the way.
- Culture builder: Set the tone early and keep tuning it in throughout the year that students are appreciated, that growth is a process, and that students are responsible for their learning. Create a safe place for collaboration, model and expect respect, and ensure that every student has opportunities to learn.
As you prepare for next week, think of how each of these strands already exist in your classroom, and braid them together for the success of your students. They will be glad you did!