Rocking the Classroom in the Era of COVID
Leadership Redefined Podcast
Anthony Annunziato Ed.D.
Richard Bernato Ed.D
Al Pisano Ed.D.
The COVID pandemic has placed a tremendous burden on teachers who found themselves and their profession disrupted in an unprecedented way. As teachers are confronted with online teaching and learning and limited contact, through it all what remains is the simple need for commitment to high student engagement.
In a recent Leadership Redefined podcast, Steven Etienne Langlois, renown Canadian song writer, entertainer and all-around talented educator shared his new book, Rock Your Class: Creatively Impactful Teacher-Rockstar Tips from A-Z. Taking his many talents and knowledge he has done what too few do; and that is to elevate the teaching profession to what is should be, a respected and challenging job. As he states in his book, “Teachers and rock stars are both performers. . .. Teacher, Rockstar. Is there a difference?”
With a plethora of research, reforms and books, there is one generally accepted thread throughout and that is the need to improve student engagement. As Etienne shared his educational philosophy and approach to informing and conducting change in the classroom, one cannot help thinking about all the pedantic books we educators have read about improving instructional methodology. Etienne’s book is the antithesis, presenting a paradigm shift in teaching that is fun, highly user friendly, and most of all inspiring teachers to be reflective, student centered and most of all creating engaging learning environments.
Listening to Etienne and reading his book, I was reminded of Will Richardson’s book Why School where he quoted Canadian education researcher, Stephen Downes who said, “we have to stop thinking of education as something that is delivered to us and instead see it as something, we create for ourselves.”
Despite policymakers and political pundits, like it or not, teachers are the hinge pin of change in reforming the classroom and we would do well take heed the words of John Dewey — “[The teacher] is not like a private soldier in an army, expected merely to obey, or like a cog in the wheel, expected to merely respond to and transmit external energy, [the teacher] must be an intelligent medium of action.”
Advice that is heard too often and rarely acted on. Perhaps this can be one of the many lessons from the COVID era.