What goes on in a teacher’s brain?

Vanessa Rodriquez and Michelle Fitzpatrick published The Teaching Brain, an investigation of the habits of mind that accompany good teaching.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview by NPR where the authors discuss five “awarenesses” that capable teachers should exhibit.  I like this framework for organizing the areas of a teacher’s praxis:

You and your co–author, Michelle Fitzpatrick, detail five areas you think need to be developed more in teaching. Describe those.

We call them awarenesses. First is to understand who your learner is as an individual. That might be, ‘Do I have a student that’s struggling, do they have dyslexia, or do I have a gifted student?’ and so on.

An awareness of teaching practice is really content skills: things such as lesson plans, time management and curriculum development.

The other areas include awareness of context, those external factors such as state mandates or the culture of the environment you’re in and the history.

Next, awareness of interaction is a favorite of mine. It’s basically acknowledging you’re interacting with a learner. Do you believe this interaction is one of collaboration? Are you co-creating knowledge?

Finally, there’s the awareness of self as a teacher. Are you aware that there’s the self that you are outside of the classroom that affects what you do as a teacher. Things like your culture, your personality, your family history and your values – just the things you find important. If you believe the reason you’re in a classroom is to help create informed citizens, that’s going to be very different than if you believe your goal is to have students leave with a certain, set amount of content.

via Q&A: The Teaching Brain : NPR Ed : NPR.



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