"But that takes so much more work."
And that statement is absolutely right. Teaching that plans for how students are going to learn something rather than how the teacher is going to teach something takes on an entirely different dimension, and requires a lot of work. It requires that:
- You know your students as learners.
- You design activities that honor and respect your students as learners. This is also known as "teaching the students in front of you" rather than teaching content and hoping it sticks to some, if not all, of them.
- You spend time deconstructing standards into student-friendly targets so students have a clear vision of what they're supposed to learn.
- You spend time carefully crafting assessments that line up with those targets so what student mastery of the targets is clear to you and your students.
- You plan activities that help students reach the level of mastery you've determined in your assessments by hitting the center of those learning targets. Students are working to actively learn concepts and make connections rather then know bits of disconnected stuff for mental regurgitation later. And they are most definitely not passively watching you stand up in the front of the room doing your job.
- You let students fail, and try again, and fail, and try again...all the while being there to prop them up, ask them questions, and guide them in the direction they should go rather than telling them what to do and what to learn and how to learn it.
- You walk around during class and get to know your students as learners rather than stand in front of them every day hoping they learn what you're telling them (or, worse yet, feeling that you taught them and it's their responsibility to just magically learn it).
Taken together, that's a lot of work. But it's work that's done outside of class, not in class. Sure, it's easier to put together a lecture or copy some worksheets. It's easier to use the antiquated and unrealistic pacing guide from the textbook. It's easier to copy the book tests or use the questions that come in the textbook test bank. It's easier for us and it's easier for students.
But we're in this to help students learn, and real learning is work. Just like students shouldn't be taking shortcuts to learning, we as teachers can't take shortcuts in our teaching.