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Teaching Ahead Roundtable at EdWeek

September 19, 2012

This week I’m one of the guest authors in “Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable” over at EdWeek.  The current topic is the public perception of teachers.  My post, titled “Four Ways for Teachers to ‘Engage’“, begins:

Polls show most Americans have favorable views of their children’s schools and teachers, so how do we explain the amount of negativity in the nation’s broader educational discourse?

I think we’re witnessing a collision of factors narrowing the storyline of American public education and educators. Economics, politics, and the media all have helped propel us toward what novelist Chimamanda Adichie calls “the danger of the single story.” If American public schools and students are failing, as we hear repeatedly and without qualification, then America’s teachers must be incompetent—even though we still approve of our local schools and teachers.

It’s unfair, but as educators there are steps we can take to improve our profession and the public view of it. All of these suggestions involve deeper engagement, so let’s think about that word for a moment.

An engaged couple enters a firm, lasting commitment. When gears are engaged, they’re interlocked and interdependent—moving, driving, or producing. When our students are engaged in their learning, they feel safe, respected, and ready to tackle complex challenges because they care about the results. These are the characteristics I seek in advocating “engagement.”

Here are four ways for teachers to engage more effectively to strengthen our profession and the general public’s perception of teachers:

Click on over to EdWeek to read my four suggestions, share your reactions, and offer your own suggestions.  There will also be a Twitter chat on the topic, starting at 5:30 p.m. PDT on Thursday, September 20, using the hashtag #teaching2030, so jump on in the conversation there, too!

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