We’ve been talking a lot this year about the cause-effect relationship between our instructional practices and student culture. We’ve been pondering and grappling with the question of how and why certain approaches to instruction cause certain student behaviors. What causes students to care? What causes students to behave respectfully and to work hard?
Recently I was reading an article by Grant Wiggins, who recently joined our GSE founding team. Grant beautifully summarizes what we believe at HVA:
Character is something that must be evoked… by challenging ideas and tasks at the core of the academic experience. The entire system of curriculum, instruction, and assessment must be designed to elicit and demand all the traits we value. Character demands can’t just be stuck on to a boring and passive approach to learning, or “self-discipline” becomes mere compliance.
This is precisely what we’ve been talking about, struggling with, and working toward. Grant goes on to highlight practices that foster student motivation and good behavior, such as Socratic Seminar, problem-based learning, authentic assessment, and other pedagogical practices that engage students in meaningful, complex work.
This is all way, way easier said than done. Which is why I deeply respect you — our teachers — for working so hard as we figure it out together.