The Art and Science of Teaching

A couple of weeks ago, I was working in a neighbourhood coffee shop and overheard a conversation between two teachers, enthusiastically preparing for the school year. I interrupted them at one point and told them I was intrigued by their interaction and impressed with their thoughtful planning.

As new colleagues in their school’s physical education department, they were sharing and discussing how they would set up the learning environment for their students, handle specific situations and work together to achieve their goals. They shared their philosophy of creating a ‘growth mindset’ culture in their school and their desire to use the “Yes, and” protocol to encourage student voice and creativity.

The excitement in the air was palpable, the spirit of collaboration was profound and I was so tempted to join in on the conversation! Instead, I continued along with my own work and reflected on the importance of the preparation that they were doing.

Both novice and veteran teachers benefit from careful and regular reflection about the science of their teaching – choosing the most appropriate structures, strategies, systems and protocols to elicit curiosity and learning for all. Establishing in advance a ‘scientific framework’ from which to work allows teachers to practice their art in the moment, that is – fostering relationships, responding to individual learning needs, and adapting to the nuances in the dynamic, real-time context.

The two teachers with whom I crossed paths were well on their way to being scientifically prepared for the new school year and I could tell that they are great pedagogical artists in the moment. No doubt, their students have already benefited from their reflections and preparations.

Here are a couple of useful resources for discussing and implementing the Art and Science of Teaching with your colleagues:
Dr. Robert Marzano – The Art and Science of Teaching
Melinda Gates: Reclaiming the Art and Science of Teaching

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