The curriculum we use - called College Prep Math - emphasizes longterm understanding, sometimes to the detriment of the short term. That often means I have students who demand that I "teach them" by standing in the front of the room and lecturing instead of more thorough methods of educating like investigations and questioning. One student in particular keeps demanding that I give him what he wants (direct instruction) instead of asking him to try things. I have faith in the curriculum that over time my students will develop deeper understandings but it is quite hard at the onset.
An additional tool we have at my school is a modification to the standard grading system known as Habits of Working and Learning (HOWLs for short). Every week we track the behavior and performance of our students based on six standards in two categories:
RESPONSIBILITY FOR LEARNING (RfL:
1.1 - I take initiative in developing strong academic habits
1.2 - I am persistent in completing quality classwork
1.3 - I demonstrate college readiness by doing homework by deadline
RESPONSIBILITY TO THE COMMUNITY (RtL):
2.1 - I treat others with kindness
2.2 - I support learning for my classmates by being collaborative
2.3 - I am courageous in sharing my ideas and open minded in considering other points of view
I find this system to be quite amazing since it creates a large measure of accountability to not just the academics of a student but also their interaction with people around them. I have tried to incorporate this into grades of my previous students but have never gone to this level. Having policies like this for the entire school is a profound change and I welcome it.
Overall I am really enjoying myself in my new setting. It has been difficult but I am learning quickly and enjoying what I do. I'll share more notes here soon!