Kansas middle school teacher Casey Ewy decided to make a change: “When I finally realized that kids will become independent, enthusiastic learners if they are part of a non-threatening community, I threw out everything that most teachers consider classroom management,” Ewy says.
She began to integrate core values into everyday teaching and learning, and her students’ attitudes began to evolve. Ewy tells Mark Barnes how core values are now the center of her classroom, in Episode 67 of the Hack Learning Podcast, embedded above.
The Problem — old-school classroom management and too much emphasis on curriculum
Failing to integrate the core values that increase allegiance and belonging, while focusing on traditional pedagogy ignores the important values that all teachers should emphasize daily.
The Hack — Develop a class set of core values to guide everything in your classroom.
Casey Ewy suggests collaborating with students to create a list of core values that the class can grow into throughout the school year.
Everything we do centers around our core values: creativity, service (doing things for other people), grit, self-awareness, respect, leadership, weirdness (just having fun; we often forget to have fun).
When students understand core values, they want to demonstrate them in class, Ewy says, especially when the teacher shares personal stories about failing at a core value and how to face that failure.
What You Can Do Tomorrow — Develop a class set of core values to guide everything in your class, following these simple steps:
1 — Make a timeline of events of your life. “Pick a few events (positive or negative) that define you,” Ewy says.
2 — Discuss those events and identify the values that accompany those events.
3 — Compile a list of core values and working definitions.
4 — Use those words — the agreed-upon core values — every day in and out of class.
5 — Take 10 to 15 minutes tomorrow to share a personal story about one of your own core values; model the positive things about it, so students can see what’s important to you. This will begin building a relationship of trust that will help students understand how to build their own list of core values.
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