Today on Edutopia, I list my 12 fundamentals of teaching and encourage other teachers to try the same exercise. I first crafted The List—which includes items like “flexibility” and “a community of mutual respect and safety”—when I started teaching an education intro course a couple of years ago. As a happy coincidence, Edutopia chose to run the piece today, the same day I taught the list to my newest group.
We started the process in quiet, as students reflected on their PK–12 school experiences, noting standout teachers and classes as well as those they feel let them down. We moved into small groups, where students looked for overlaps and begin to combine their items. Then we gathered as a whole class to create a master list and attempt precise, succinct phrases. I shared my own list and the process by which it came to be. Then we noted more overlaps and the ways the items on my list could encompass the thoughts they generated—it’s as if they, new to teacher education, had these fundamentals in their minds all along. Now the students will mull the list over as they read, discuss, and observe classrooms. It will likely change, just a little, by the end of this semester. It always does.
I find listing an essential act, and the resulting list an essential resource. (See Listing to Love for a list of lists!)