Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Engaging Students, The Next Level of WORKING ON THE WORK

Engaging Students, The Next Level of WORKING ON THE WORK by Phillip Schlechty is a new offering from Jossey-Bass, aimed at teachers in school buildings that comes from Schlechty's experience, education, and expertise about how we best learn, how we teach, and how to align teaching to meet the way we best learn.

I really like the message of this book. "Too often teachers confuse work with activity." (p 101) "Redefining the role of teachers also requires redefining the roles of students. (p 102). I could pull a hundred quotes from the book for you. It's a book that I find myself nodding along in agreement with as I read.

Homeschoolers, I suspect, will relate to the two sentences I pulled from one chapter (An Alternative View of Teaching). Those quotes are reasons many of us homeschool.

I see sometimes many of us as homeschooling parents and teachers everywhere become too focused on the wrong things. Schlechty refocuses readers in the right direction, away from rote memorization and toward engaged learning. His focus is on staff in school-building schools, but I benefit as well as his words shape how I think about teaching and engaging my homeschooler who has special learning needs.

His section on Design vs Planning changes the way I think about what we do at home. I come from a world of planning via IEP objectives and goals, and through homeschooling, I am trying to design opportunities for learning and growth without the planning. I had not been able to clarify that in my mind until I read this section in Chapter Three, Motives and Motivation.

The ToC is here. Excerpts are available here for you to read. Check them out. This may be the book you're looking for to help you refocus on engaged learning. I've certainly been given a lot of information to think about, to assimilate and accommodate, from it, as I continue to grow into the teacher my girl needs me to be.
Disclosure: Jossey Bass Teacher sent me a review copy of Engaging Students by Phillip Schlecthty. I was not paid for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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