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TeachFX recommended by TNTP!

Here at TeachFX we’re super excited to announce that the national education nonprofit TNTP has recommended TeachFX as a powerful way to address “the opportunity myth” in American schools.

The report is getting a lot of attention. Just check out what the Director of Education at Emerson Collective tweeted…

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TNTP’s report — The Opportunity Myth: What Students Can Show Us About How School Is Letting Them Down — and How to Fix It — details many startling findings, like this one:

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TeachFX is included in the “…and How to Fix It” portion of the report — as a remedy to these types of lessons that fail to engage students. With TNTP’s mission to end educational inequality, we are extremely proud to receive their stamp of approval!

What’s your New Year’s student talk resolution?

Happy holidays from TeachFX! Congratulations on making it to winter break, and good luck as you start thinking about all the amazing things you have planned for 2019. Now is a great time to reflect on last semester, and maybe look over your TeachFX analytics:

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So, when you look at yours, what do you think? Are you trending in the right direction with your talk ratio? Where do you want to be next semester? Click into one of the classes with the most student talk — what are some teacher moves you made that you want to try doing more often?

Once you’ve done some reflecting, go set a goal for the new year!

Thankful

I just want you to know: I’m thankful for you.

During this week after Thanksgiving break, my feelings of gratitude linger on as I think about all the teachers around the country using TeachFX to get feedback on their practice, working hard to provide an exceptional learning experience to their students.

Every time one of you records a class with TeachFX, I get a little notification: “Jennifer Smith just recorded her class ‘Ravens C Block’ with TeachFX!” “Brian Johnson just recorded his class ‘Sophomore Geometry’ with TeachFX!”

Each time I see one of these, I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude. I’m grateful that you are taking the time to be intentional about engaging your students — these young people who are our future doctors and businesspeople and voters and mothers and fathers and leaders. It’s inspiring.

The work you’re doing isn’t easy. It’s challenging, for example, when students aren’t as engaged as we’d hope them to be for a particular class. The work is also critically important. Decades of research tells us about the necessity of speaking in the learning process. It’s also something we know intuitively as educators: simply telling the kids something is never enough. The students have to discover it for themselves. When you’re using TeachFX, you’re making learning your top priority. For that, I am grateful — and so are your students!

Derek & the Detritivores

In our TeachFX workshops, we guide teachers through rewriting questions from their lessons to be more open-ended. A couple of my favorite examples of this come from an 8th grade science class taught by Derek Payne of Caliber Beta Academy in Richmond, CA. Derek’s class was about detritivores. What the heck’s a detritivore??, you may be thinking. (That’s what I thought, at least…) As I learned from Derek sharing his class with us, a detritivore is a creature that feeds on dead organic material.

So, here are a couple moments where Derek thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of teacher talk” — he was using his TeachFX class report to identify missed opportunities to promote more student engagement.

As you read the transcript and look at the student/teacher talk breakdown below, ask yourself, “What could Derek have done differently to encourage more student engagement and less teacher talk?” If you want, you can even write me with your answers!! (Derek’s own answers are the bottom of this post.)

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TeachFX Moment #1

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TeachFX Moment #2

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*Names are changed to preserve the anonymity of the students.

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Bonus Question

Okay, this is a little silly, but doesn’t “Derek & the Detritivores” sound like the name of a ’90s grunge band? So I thought we should all vote on our favorite fake album cover for the imaginary band, Derek & the Detritivores :

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Let me know which you like best — “Can of Worms,” “Pie in the Sky,” or “This Mortal Coil.” This is important stuff!

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Answers, from Derek

Moment #1: “I actually asked a pretty good question when I said, ‘So would that be the case?’ I just didn’t let Jeymani answer! Instead, I answered the question myself. I could have even asked other students if they agreed or disagreed with Jeymani that humans are detritivores, and why. It could have been a class debate, and a great way to teach the concept.”

Moment #2: “This one’s easy: I should have asked the class, ‘What would the world be like without detritivores?’ My whole lesson could’ve been structured around this question.”

Bonus Question: “I gotta go with ‘This Mortal Coil.’ Look at those gonopods!”

Analysis Paralysis?

One barrier to improving your practice with TeachFX is simply getting in the habit of recording your classes. Maybe you’re considering which class would be a good one for TeachFX to analyze…and you’re thinking about it so much that you haven’t recorded a class yet?? Maybe you’ve got…*duhn* *duhn* *duhnnn*…Analysis Paralysis. If so, I’ve created this helpful flow chart for any teacher who’s trying to figure out that eternal question:

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Remember, as a teacher, you want your students more engaged all year, not just in one particular class period. So it’s better to look at your data on a regular cadence, rather than fretting about which lesson(s) to analyze each week. This helps you to start thinking regularly about student engagement and planning for more of it in your upcoming classes!