If You Could Change Just One Thing

“So if you have one piece of advice for anyone looking to change the way they teach, what would it be?”

I cannot count how many times I have been asked this important question or the myriad of ways.  In podcasts, webinars, face to face, workshops, and even in lunch time conversations.  What would you change?  What would you do?  What should we do?

It makes sense really.  There is so much we could change, there is so much we could do. Yet, in the end if you only have energy for one change.  If you only have space for one thing.  Make it this…

Ask the students.

There you have it.  The one thing I say every time I am asked.  The one thing I wish we all did more of.

Ask the students what they want changed.

Ask the students what they love.

Ask the students how they want to learn.

Ask the students about your room set up.

Ask the students what their grade should be.

Ask the students if they have a voice, and if not, give them one.

Ask the students what they want to learn.

Ask the students why they stopped loving something.

Ask the students about their lives.

Ask the students what they hate.

Ask the students how they feel about you.

Ask the students and then listen to their answers.

Ask them and change your teaching.

If you do one thing in the new year, let this be it.  One question is all it takes.  One moment is all you need.

I am a passionate teacher in Oregon, Wisconsin, USA,  who has taught 4th, 5th, and 7th grade.  Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press.  Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

5 thoughts on “If You Could Change Just One Thing

  1. Good advice Pernille. Makes me wonder why I usually make decisions on my kids’ behalf. Such simple questions that give the students ownership of their learning and what happens in the classroom, and at the same time gives me valuable insight into their answers and take action accordingly- of course some things may not work out but then we might work a new plan together. Something I tried last year: I said: “That’s all I’m going to say.” Caused some students to become frustrated as they needed more info- but encouraged collaboration amongst their peers- independent learners!

  2. Pingback: Sunday Salon: A Round-Up of Online Reading 12/28/14 | the dirigible plum

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