Saturday, March 26, 2011

Four Goals for Teachers

I just watched an interview with Alan November on, a virtual community for educational leaders and reformers.  Alan has a way of reminding us of the 'big picture' that I find reassuring.  Here's an example: there are times when I feel overwhelmed by the new web 2.0 tools and applications I find daily.  (People who know me will find that one hard to believe, but it's true!)  How can anybody possibly keep up with all the new web 2.0 goodies out there?  Hopefully teachers have support, in the guise of an Ed Tech person, some time available for professional development where they can try out new things and, the most important ingredient, the desire to improve teaching strategies so technology is seamless in their classrooms.  

Alan November reminded me that it's not about the technology.  Really.  I know that.  The technology is the tool that I need to align my 'teaching' with the big picture; their learning.  He reminded me of four goals that I gave myself a while back and I'd like to share with you.  If I can remember these goals, then the worry about keeping up with the technology is mitigated by the bigger picture of achieving these goals.  He's right on when he says that students need to:

1.  deal with massive amounts of information
2.  connect their learning and produce content for an authentic audience
3.  establish global connections and develop global empathy
4.  be self-directed in their learning

I was in that audience!
I have heard him speak before.  He was in Montreal in 2009 and I attended the BLC 2010 conference in Boston.  (It's expensive but if you can get funding, it's worth every cent!)  I remember hearing him speak of these four goals and thinking to myself, "Yea, I know that one!  Yup, that's true.  Yea, that looks like me."

I try hard to improve my teaching and I'm not afraid to wade into unknown waters.  My students, (bless them) are used to being 'guinea pigs' and understand that the classroom is where we try new things.  But every once in a while, I have to step back and remember the big picture.  Everything we do, all the content we teach, assessments we design and conversations that we have with them should support the bigger picture: their future as citizens in a world we can only imagine, darkly, through a glass.  We can't be sure that most of  the content we teach will be relevant in a few years, but we surely know that if we coach them on autonomy, mastery and authenticity, as outlined by Alan's four goals, we've got to be on the right track.


  1. This is true. I have to remind myself of this as well. I had the opportunity to hear Alan November speak at BLC2008 (I think). He is inspiring and is good at the big picture. Those 4 are good reminders for me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the comment Dvora! Let's spread the 4 goals and the big picture.

  3. Hi,
    Love your attitude. Thanks for reinforcing the four goals. Great graphic for your blog header.


    Alan November

    ps: Thanks for the reference to BLC11

  4. Thanks for the compliments Alan! BLC rocks.