With education being in a state of constant change — virtual school, to hybrid, to in-person, to hybrid, to all virtual again — many people are looking frantically for answers on how to improve teaching in these environments. At 16th Street, we are sure that there are many things you can do to manage the virtual environment better, ways to account for variances in student access, and quality of home work environments. However, if you want to improve the quality of teaching and learning, think carefully about how much talking you are doing, and what purpose it serves. Then, think carefully about how much talking you are asking your students to do and for what purposes. We have not seen an ideal balance between student and teacher talk, it very much depends on what you are trying to accomplish at that moment. However, what we have seen in an overwhelming fashion are classrooms dominated by teacher talk that is not well planned out and does not serve a clear purpose or pedagogical technique interspersed with student talk that is also not well planned out. You have precious few seconds with your students, make the most of them — don’t create lesson plans that only list “topics” to “discuss.” Please be clear with yourself about what your learning targets are and be intentional about choosing a pedagogy that is most likely to get you to that target. Remote, hybrid, or in person, if you do this, you can’t help but see improved learning!
It is not enough to have knowledge, one must also apply it. It is not enough to have wishes, one must also accomplish.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe