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- Are you tired of being ignored in the process of educational planning and improvement?
- Are you weary of being told what you "should" do by policy makers and "experts" who ignore your own expertise?
- Have you forgotten that you are at the heart of any meaningful change in education?
he Teaching in Mind website focuses on two main areas of education. First, you will find many articles that help you understand the critical role of teacher thinking on the entire educational process. Parker Palmer, the author of The Courage to Teach, reminds us that "we teach who we are." Teachers' perceptions and behaviors are shaped by their individual beliefs, values, attitudes, and worldviews, most of which reside in the unconscious mind. Therefore, our first goal is to help teachers reflect on their thinking and understand how those unconscious processes influence their practice, and the experiences of their students.
This website and the accompanying book, Teaching in Mind: How Teacher Thinking Shapes Education, are dedicated to teachers. In the first section, we shift the focus from the externals of teaching, such as content, methodology, and discipline, to the inner realms of subjective experience that shape a teacher's personal world. These resources are both for and about teachers—about you.
Effective teachers come in many shapes, sizes, and temperaments. Their effectiveness arises from their individual personalities and thinking, the beliefs they have about teaching and learning, how they conceptualize their work, and the ways in which they interact with students. Teachers' personal beliefs and values provide the unconscious foundation for their behavior. The metaphors they use to describe their work shape the environment in which they and their students operate. Because teachers' mental models of "reality" are highly individualistic, no two classrooms are, or can be, the same.
With the exception of being blamed for the failure of top-down reform efforts and ill-conceived high-stakes testing, teachers are largely ignored. They are told what, when, and how to teach, just as their students are told what, when, and how to learn. What they are increasingly forced to teach is the content of tests they had no role in constructing. The power of teachers to create both effective and ineffective learning environments is largely ignored. In fact, many teachers now see themselves as powerless.
On the contrary, we believe that it is only through the active participation of reflective teachers that meaningful change in education can occur. Therefore, our second focus in on helping teachers understand why reforming public education is doomed to failure, and why transforming—changing the form—of education is essential if we wish to help students joyfully develop their unique gifts rather than becoming clones built to mythical standards!
Here at Teaching in Mind, you'll find
- a large number of articles that compare and contrast the most important elements of teacher thinking, as well as how these elements shaped a teacher's behaviors, perceptions, and choices;
- articles that explain the historical beliefs and events that shaped the foundations of traditional education, as well as the current purpose of public education;
- articles and resources on current issues in education, such as standards, standardized testing, the historical and current purpose of American public education, authentic learning, authentic assessment; and
- links to some of the most influential and thoughtful resources—books, videos, blogs, and articles about what is happening in education today.
We think you'll be amazed by and surprised at some of the ideas you find here.
It's easy to criticize education and call for reform. What is missing is a clear plan of action…or multiple plans if that's what it will take to provide all of our children with an equal opportunity to develop their full potential. It is our belief that teachers can and should be at the forefront of making that happen. So think of this website as a buffet of ideas, a toolkit filled with alternatives, or a symphony of approaches to educational change.
Welcome to the world of teacher thinking!
Read more about Teaching in Mind: How Teacher Thinking Shapes. Education.