Three Ts and an L

After living with the 3Ts guideline (Think, Talk, Try) for teacher development for some time, I’ve decided that I need to add an L for Listening.

In conversations about improving teaching, I’ve always given the advice of using the 3Ts to guide growth. They are

Think – review and reflect on ones teaching; developing ideas from the big, involving identity as a teacher, down to the small, involving specific classroom activities

Talk – discuss those ideas with others, for feedback and for accountability

Try – do it, in some small way, or if necessary, all in

As I’ve used the 3Ts and have grown as a teacher, I’ve started to realize that I should add (or really, recognize) another: L for Listening.

In making the big jump from being just a teacher to being a more mindful, reflective teacher, I thought that I was enough to generate those good ideas about teaching. Now I realize that listening, in both conversations and through reading blogs, papers, books, etc. is an important part of developing as a teacher and an activity that I do and value very much.

So, I now recommend paying attention to the teaching that is going on around you. Pick a blog or two, and read what someone else is thinking about teaching. Listen to a podcast, to see what ideas or practices are out there. Pick a topic and search for some research articles. Read a book on education. Find things that challenge your assumptions about teaching and learning and ones that confirm you were on the right track. Then think about how they fit with your development as a teacher, talk to others sharing these ideas, and try something you’ve learned.