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This is probably one of my biggest pet peeves, but simply by broadening your planning and lesson structure and getting out of your textbook, you can increase freedom in your classroom. Your textbook is a tool, but when it is leaned on for every instructional event, it can become aggravating, cumbersome, and BORING for students. Start looking beyond the pages for more engaging activities, projects, and experiences for your students. This will increase student focus and allow them to have some choice.
Learning is a process, plain and simple. More importantly, it’s a continuous process that may happen differently for every individual learner. To think that all students can learn, practice, assess, and just move on is ridiculous. The concept of moving on when a student has failed an assessment is a direct indication that a teacher has not only accepted failure, but has acknowledged that the gaps created by that failure are ok and acceptable, even if they will be detrimental to future success.
If you’ve ever seen speak, or joined us in one of our live trainings, you probably knew this was coming. Pace is one of the most powerful variables you can control in your classroom. It can determine if a student is engaged, bored, or frustrated because of their current level of understanding. When we allow learners to set the pace, instead of dictating it to our students, they feel a greater sense of power.