Task predicts performance… As we are working, please keep in close mind what your students will be doing during the learning opportunities that you are creating, planning and developing. Are they building and creating and thinking? Or are they filling in the blanks on a worksheet?
If our tasks are not authentic and challenging and engaging, we go back to old style school where kids are forced to do what the teacher demands, but not to be able to truly engage with the work. Hopefully, similar to our professional work and our need to be engaged in what we are doing, when we are engaged everyone can tell! People can see exactly how engaged we are, and when it is this is because the work is purposeful, meaningful, and has an element of choice and creativity in it.
I often joke that much of my job is knowing when to get out of the way of good work. I believe that this fits very clearly when you look at the tasks that we create for ourselves and our students. Take report cards and IPP’s as examples. Report cards and documentation can be just one of those tasks that we need to get finished. However, if we are truly using them as part of formative assessment practices as well, students become a part of the work and it becomes more than just a makework project. If we set up tasks which are challenging and push our kids to think, they will become engaged thinkers and ethical citizens within the communities we are trying to develop, build and improve. I know that for myself I absolutely love my work when I am engaged in it and see it as purposeful for the big picture.
Work hard, learn tons!