On Innovation in teaching

I was directed to the video When a Lesson Goes Wrong while attending an Edweek webinar on Helping at Risk Students Develop Literacy Skills – an excellent webinar btw, but beyond the scope of this post. The video is of high school English teacher, Sarah Brown Wessling, attempting to instruct her students in literary analysis with the inclusion of outside resources – a lesson developed to meet the requirements of the new Common Core standards. It’s fascinating to watch both the total failure of the first attempt and the quick, on-your-feet thinking, that leads to greater success in the second lesson. But that’s not the only fascinating thing about this “day in the life” of a teacher. The entire experience  speaks volumes about how challenging it can be to be innovative in our attempts to transform  teaching practice. Her blog post, Making Mistakes: The Best Way to Grow,  illustrates rather acutely, the thought process behind her willingness to take the challenge and her acceptance of failure as part of the learning process – all while being filmed for an episode of the Teaching Channel! It’s an excellent lesson for all of us if we ever hope to “see what’s really going on, without filters and without judgment or self-loathing of the less-than-perfect moments; rather, using them as catalysts to collaborate or take an intellectual-risk.” I learned so much from watching her experience and I heartily applaud her efforts.