The class I was in today was asked the question "what is the difference between leading and managing a classroom?" I am interested to see what others think, especially when technology, like 1:1 devices, are used. What is the difference? Should we manage students or lead them? And how do you approach this in the classroom?
LaDonna you caught my interest on your questions. As a Math Coach for 8-10 years, we have been addressing the differences of leading and managing and these are just some of my thoughts and suggestions based on my experiences in the K-12 math classrooms.
I think it is important to know what is meant by leading. We could go in a lot of directions, but, personally, I see leading as:
Providing students with learning targets that we all want to reach together. These learning targets are what we want our students to know, understand, and be able to do.
Then we need to let them know in advance what levels we expect them to reach through rubrics or checklists or student self-assessments.
Once the students have this information we can provide a motivational mindset that they can relate to and draws them into the learning - a connection to the real world, to something the students buy into. I call that the hook.
Now, I can let go of the reigns and let them take charge of their own learning and I can be their guide on the side or their coach to keep them motivated, to ask them questions that make them want to know more, and allow them to share their thinking in pairs, small groups, socratic seminars, blogging online, or google docs, or edmodo.
When I think of managing the classroom, I think of making sure the classroom environment is safe, allows students to share their thinking and their mistakes without being teased, where students work collaboratively, where students determine the rules for listening, speaking, and working. One of my favorite videos to support this meaning of management is Math as a Social Activity.
Another approach to managing and/or leading is Cognitively Guided Instruction. I see this approach as both a way to manage and to lead. Cognitively Guided Instruction was our foundation to the professional development we provided more that 600 teachers across the state of South Dakota and it has been amazing to see the growth in student thinking, speaking, collaborating, and problem solving.