Maintaining Excellence

Essential Question: How do we maintain excellence as we innovate?

There are many things we do as teachers to maintain our excellence. As teachers we should be able to implement any strategy and still maintain our excellence. There are six keys to maintaining our excellence. Maryellen Weimer, PhD listed these strategies she found in the book, Learning to Teach in Higher Education. (Weimer, M)


  1. Interest and explanation
  2. Concern and respect for students and student learning
  3. Appropriate feedback and assessment
  4. Clear goals and intellectual challenge
  5. Independence, control, and active engagement
  6. Learning from students


  As a teacher these elements are in my mind as I am planning the lessons. I ask myself many questions about my lessons including:  Is this interesting and why is it interesting (how does it pertain to my students). Am I considering my students when I do this and their learning styles?  How will I assess them?  Are my goals clear and is it challenging? How can I differentiate to meet the needs of all? Is there some level of independence? Will my students be able to actively engage? I must also be ready for things to go in a different direction and be open to learning from my students.  It doesn’t matter where the lessons take or how creative you are or aren’t you take these into consideration while you are planning your lessons to maintain excellence.


Burgess talked about his first three days of school that sound amazing. He then goes on to talk about how other teachers ask him how he does it and he then replies with questions like. Where is the best place for this lesson to take place? In that question you are considering some of the variables I have listed above. Using another location you are trying to create interest and possibly how the students can interact with this information. It has an opportunity to engage because it is different. He has clearly spent time reading his students and learning from them to be able to develop these scenarios and be able to ask these questions. Creating the discussion about who should stay on the Island and who should go is the challenge but does not have a specific right or wrong answer which gives every opinion validity addressing the intellectual challenge as well as the independence aspect. The students can think independently and use their knowledge to support their answer.


Seely Brown, J., Thomas, D. (2011). A New Culture Of Learning Cultivating the

 Imagination for a world of Constatnt Change.  Retrieved from


Burgess, D., (2012) Teach like a Pirate. Retrieved from


Weimer, M., (2009) Effective Teaching Strategies: Six Keys to Classroom Excellence.

Retrieved from


One thought on “Maintaining Excellence

  1. As I read the part about burgess’ first three days, I wished I could see that. Then I wished I was outgoing enough to do something like that. We all have to find what works for us. We may not all be able to be storms, helicopter pilots, or pirates, but we can be what works for us. I also think, that if we have a desire to do something “crazy” but don’t feel it is in our nature, that is probably because we are getting stopped by one of Burgess’ 5 reasons for being held back. The idea is to figure out which one/s and conquer them. As the saying goes, “Fake it till you make it.” Pull out our passion for teaching and pretend. Chances are, they won’t know we are a little uncomfortable inside.

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