This phrase is how I often envision my classroom. Today, we accomplished a lot. We developed a list of questions to research, introduced the collaborative blog project, discussed classroom management, questioning strategies, motivation, wait time I and wait time II as well as learning styles and learning theory.
I embrace this chaos because I know that learning is not easy and learning is not predictable or straightforward. If you expect and embrace this chaos, you will be much better prepared to deal with chaos. Some teachers try to stick to such a strict schedule that when chaos happens (and it will) they don’t know how to deal with it. Also, while the teacher might get through the schedule, I am left wondering if the students got through the same schedule. I see the “chaos” as a way to authentically respond to student needs in real time.
As I noted in class, the attitude with which you approach teaching will determine a lot about your effectiveness. Will you expect and embrace chaos? Do you really want to hear what your students think? Or do you want to “get through” the content and simply tell the students what to think?
The chaos also more accurately reflects what teaching really is. We jump around topics so much because the topics are so interconnected. What we do for classroom management is directly related to our goals for students. How we manage the class is affected by what we believe about how people learn. While separating the sections of teaching out makes the ideas easier, the discrete sections do not authentically represent the complexities of teaching.
I am enjoying our learning so far. I hope you are starting to see where we are going and are getting excited about getting there!
*This post is taken from an email I wrote to my elementary science methods students.
**The title of this post was the title of on of my band’s albums in college. So glad I got to reuse it!