One of the most simple and straightforward challenges I have been posing to teachers this summer is to change one of their classroom practices through a prepositional shift. If you want a teacher to shift to more inquiry, more student driven, then at the core of this switch is going to be how we prepositionally define the space between the teacher and student. Simply put, what are you currently doing to and for students that needs to be by and with students. Choose a classroom routine or procedure, or a teaching method, or a unit and work to apply a new lens to shift one of them from ‘teacher does to and for the student’, to ‘the work of the classroom is done by and with the students as the primary agent of their own education’.
While this is not particularly complex, I have found it illuminating for teachers struggling to see how to shift toward a student directed educational space. A lovely Art teacher in Wisconsin commented that after 20 years of teaching, it occurred to her that the seniors can plan all of their own field trips and that she will no longer take that on, for them. The idea that the experience will be more meaningful if they plan it as well as seeing the importance of the skills included in planning and executing a group trip. As you prep to step back into a classroom, or stand in front of your faculty or work with teachers in a less structured way… ask them to shift something that they currently do to and for, to by and with. The lens is helpful and one that I internally checked myself with throughout my years in the classroom.