(or, What I learned from the ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership 2016)
I was fortunate enough to attend my second Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Conference last month outside Washington D.C. ASCD conferences focus on putting research based ideas into practice in the classroom. Here are my three big takeaways from my three days at the conference.
Student Engagement Drives Learning:
We learn by doing and experiencing. This has been obvious for centuries, but according to Dr. Robert Marzano 2/3 of what happens in school is talk, and 2/3 of that is teacher talk. Middle School students need to be engaged in a meaningful way every 10-12 minutes. This can be reflection work, sharing with a partner, or physically moving in the room as part of an activity. Engaging students in this way increases the depth of learning and improves the classroom climate.
Schools Should Teach Ethical Behavior:
Barbara Coloroso spoke at length about student relationships. Before any learning can begin, a student needs to feel safe, supported, and valued. Schools have a responsibility to teach students how to behave towards each other in an ethical manner. Classrooms where students experience this support (“deep caring” in Coloroso’s words) have a lasting impact on a child’s education.
Sitting is the New Smoking:
In the 1970’s we knew that smoking was bad, but it was still all around us in restaurants, offices, and planes. Today, we know that sitting is bad for us mentally and physically, yet it continues to be all around schools. In fact, “excessive sitting” leads to all kinds of health problems. Movement is medicine for the brain, and students learn better when they move. Teaching is a healthy profession, as good teachers are always up and moving around their room. Learning needs to be a healthy activity as well, and students need to be moving beyond P.E. class.
Each of these points are pieces of the Middle School philosophy at Shorecrest, and faculty are continuing to build on them to ensure the best, healthiest middle school experience for our students.
Jonathan Davis is the Head of Middle School at Shorecrest. Visit the Shorecrest campus to learn more about the 5th-8th grade Middle School program.