When I was in graduate school, I was introduced to the work of Betty Shockley, Barbara Michalove, and JoBeth Allen. At the time, Betty and Barbara were classroom teachers in rural Georgia, and JoBeth served as a professor at the University of Georgia. They collaborated on multiple projects and published books about their work examining the literate lives of children and teachers.
My introduction to these amazing educators came in the form of their book, Engaging Families: Connecting Home and School Literacy Communities, which is, sadly, out of print. The book described the work they engaged in to develop respected partnerships with children’s families in order to connect the families’ values with the ways the children were becoming literate in school. I was enthralled with what they described and set out to replicate one part of their effort with my own first grade students.
I quickly realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew. I failed to anticipate the amount of time it would take to respond to 24 student/parent journals every day and that a number of parents would not participate in the effort at all. I was young, naïve, and ambitious, not yet accepting that practicality could sabotage the best effort of an idealist.
Asking “Is it practical?” is one thing a teacher should consider when trying out a new teaching strategy according to a recent blog post at edutopia.org.
New tips, ideas, and resources should make the student and teacher’s learning process easier. Some strategies, when you realistically and logistically consider them, may simply not be practical. It may work for others, but not for you and your students. When it comes to practicality consider the following elements:
• time it takes to prep and implement
• number of students
• access to tech
• other logistical elements that might influence your decision
Additional things to consider are whether the strategy suits your teaching and learning style and whether the strategy aligns with a learning outcome. Check out the full post at Edutopia.