3 Things Leading Teachers Do Everyday

“Education is not to reform students or amuse them or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, teach them to think straight, if possible”. —Robert M. Hutchins


Ever wonder what makes exceptional educators so exceptional? With the help of our all time favourite teacher John Keating, here is a list of 3 things leading educators do everyday.


1. Inspiring students to ask the tough questions

“The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer”. -Alice Wellington Rollins

A student’s curiosity has no end and great questions can be activated with a few easy methods: 

  • Require students to prepare for discussions with notes that include several questions to ask classmates.
  • Have students practice interviewing one another.
  • Provide students with sample questions, then have them add their own.
  • Create a “Questions We Have” chart in the classroom for students to write down their general inquiries, then research answers together. Celebrate what you have learnt together at the end of semester.
  • Start the debate! Ask students to look up controversial or debatable material that naturally stimulates curiosity and present questions to the class.
  • Have students create questions about a subject they are naturally curious about prior to researching that topic.


2. Have students look at a problem and solve it. Then, look it again and solve it differently.

“Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in a different way. Even though it might seem silly or wrong, you must try”- John Keating

Great educators push their students to question themselves and each other. Viewing a problem at a different angle/light/in another’s shoes, encourages resilience, ignites conversation, creates flexibility and confidence within learning and problem solving. To encourage collaboration and innovation amongst students’, ‘break and rotate’ the work. 

  • Break the problem – ‘artificially’ breaking up the question can be very effective way to increase collaboration by adding immediate feedback loops.  As students redistribute the problem and struggle to meet their goals, the increased interactions generate insightful questions regarding individual behaviours and single points of improvements in the learning process.
  • Rotate the problem – frequently rotating the work can be helpful in two ways.  First, changing roles in a process allows the team to systematically and frequently “bring in a fresh set of eyes.”  Pushing students to break down the problem into its simplest elements and cross train helps drive innovation as they must question every detail and look for ways to translate the questions and answers more effectively.


3. Enforce ‘Carpe Diem’

Oh captain, my captain! This is the most important action! As Keating reiterates, “No matter what anyone tells you, words and ideas can change the world”. Leading educators encourage students to use every moment of learning to their advantage!


So what are you waiting for? Make your lives extraordinary, Touchstonians!



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