1. What is quality teaching? It's engaging students, getting them actively involved. It's leading them where you want them to go - having clear learning targets and objective, and effectively communicating these to students so they see connections between what we're doing and where we're going. It addresses students' strengths and weaknesses. It's being sensitive to where students are at (informal formative assessments) and adjusting - sometimes on the fly - to where they are (sometimes this means speeding up; others, it means slowing down). It's teaching students how to think critically, to collect data before making judgments, and to critically evaluate information and information sources so they don't get duped. It's also lighting a fire, inspiring students to care. It's about making connections and teaching them about the "real world," all the challenges in life that move way beyond the classroom. It's teaching them to be responsible and to make good choices. It's about relationships.
  2. What do you do well in your classroom? Please see above list ; ) Seriously though, on some level, on any given day, we feel we do all of these well. That is not to say, though, that we couldn't do them better and more consistently. We all seek to develop a positive, encouraging learning environment where kids feel safe and inspired to push themselves and be honest about their understanding and beliefs. We all consider caring and relating to students as our strengths. We're fairly flexible and adaptable.
  3. What would you like to learn more about? We'd love to learn more about how to do more with less. We all teach writing, and we're looking at classes of at least 28 per class, or about 168 students a day. We'd love to find a more systematic way to teach writing effectively but in such a way that doesn't burn us out. Meaningful evaluation of writing is a time-consuming process, and we can't continue teaching the way we have. The time to explore some of these issues in our groups would be valuable, as would any resources about teaching writing in our current structure.