At CPE, one of the things we focused on this summer was ensuring that our policies and statements appropriately reflected our pedagogy and practice, as an organization. We realized that we were missing a statement on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, so we worked to rectify that. We wrote a statement that reflects our values and outlook regarding equity in education and we are committed to holding ourselves to the standard that our DEIB statement lays out. Perhaps this is a good time for you to review the policies, pedagogy, and practices of your school/classroom/organization.
It’s pretty easy to ignore the policies and statements that we have in place because they can feel boring and not necessarily useful. But policies set the norms, communicate expectations, and protect our stakeholders, so it’s important that they are reflective of our current values. Before the school year officially begins, try to take some time to review the policies of your district, building, or classroom and consider specific areas that may need updating. See the prompts in the sidebar for some ideas.
Once we have equitable policies in place, we can think about our pedagogy. Most of us haven’t written a Statement of Pedagogy or Philosophy of Teaching since we applied to our first teaching positions. And for many of us, our beliefs and values regarding learning and education have evolved throughout our careers, but we may not have actually written out our current ideals. Below are some questions to help us reflect on our pedagogical beliefs and consider how we are communicating them to our colleagues and students.
Pedagogy is the lens through which we view teaching–our worldview of education, if you will. It is our practice that creates the “stuff” of teaching–the activities, strategies, and tools that we use in our day-to-day teacher lives. In the side bar are some questions and ideas to help you reflect upon your daily practice and consider ways to update it.
- Do your policies include gendered terms? Can you use gender neutral terms instead?
- Do you account for varied limitations of your stakeholders? Consider physical, intellectual, economic, technological, and linguistic differences and needs.
- Do you have a statement of inclusion or belonging? How can you define and communicate your values in this area?
- Which are the fastest growing populations in your district? Are these populations’ needs addressed in your policies?
- How do you believe learning occurs?
- Why do you utilize the practices you do?
- What goals do you have for yourself and your students?
- How does your teaching reflect your values and goals?
- How do you define an inclusive learning environment?
- How do you define a rigorous learning environment?
- How have your students changed over the last few years? Is your daily practice engaging your students’ current world and interests?
- Think about your students when they move onto the next phase of their education (middle school, high school, college/career). Imagine you are sitting in this new room with them. Have you prepared them with the skills they need to adapt to the changes around them? Have you prepared them for this new academic space?
- Do you have a process for collecting feedback from your students about your practices? Are you reading and utilizing this feedback?
- Are there any practices that you have heard about but not had the time to learn about? What opportunities for professional learning and development could you participate in?