The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching

Blog Author: Katrina Bogle, Dean of College Readiness, Hamlin Collegiate ISD

When asked to write a blog post about the “work,” I began agonizing over a topic.  I kept glancing at my bookshelf and each time landed on the same text: The 12 Touchstones of Good Teachingby Goodwin and Hubbell.  While the book is aimed at teachers, I believe we are all teachers.  Administrators can substitute the word “teacher” for student and the lessons still apply.  Whether you are a classroom teacher or administrator or play some other role, I would encourage you to aim for each of the following points.

Section 1 calls for us to “Be Demanding:  Articulate and Maintain High Expectations for Learning.”   Can you say that you:

  1. Use standards to guide every learning opportunity?
  2. Ensure that students set personal learning objectives for each lesson?
  3. Peel back the curtain to make your performance expectations clear?
  4. Measure understanding against high expectations?

Section 2 calls for us to “Be Supportive:  Provide a Nurturing Learning Environment.”  Can you say that you:

  1. Engage student interest with every lesson?
  2. Interact meaningfully with every student?
  3. Use feedback to encourage effort?
  4. Create an oasis of safety and respect in your classroom?

Section 3 calls for us to “Be Intentional:  Know Why You’re Doing What You’re Doing.”  Can you say that you:

9: Make the most of every minute?
10: Help students develop deep knowledge?
11: Coach students to mastery?
12: Help students do something with their learning?

I love the last paragraph on the back cover:

If there were one thing you could do each day to help one student succeed, you’d do it, wouldn’t you?  What about three things to help three students? What if there were 12 things you could do everyday to help all of your students succeed?  There are, and you’ll find them here.

(Highly recommended book study!)

I believe if each of us could answer yes to the above and complete “our work” while being demanding,supportiveand intentional– we would achieve the lofty goal and the absolute bottom line for “our work” and that is that we do what is in the best interest of the children.

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