Getting in ‘Flow’ with Teaching Labs
A Master Teacher Apprentice along with the Learning Lab Teachers will work together Tuesday through Friday mornings in the Adult Language Camp with Lead Teacher-Trainer Paul Kirschling in French or Leslie Davison in Spanish, both of whom happen to be Colorado Teacher of the Year winners.
Once registered in the Experienced Track, teachers will be sent a link for registering for this unique opportunity. Each teacher will submit two 10-minute continuous feed videos highlighting their classroom instruction.
Before the conference, the lead teachers will be in contact with the apprentice teachers. They will share lesson planning ideas and get feedback from apprentice teachers to determine the optimal approach for providing acquisition-driven instruction, taking into consideration varied teaching/learning styles represented.
Each day, the lead teacher will review the day’s lesson with apprentice teachers and all will collectively determine the ideal organization for teaching / teachers. The lead teacher will get the class into flow, and at logical and natural points during class, apprentice teachers will take over whole-group and small-group instruction, focusing on strategies and approaches that will result in language acquisition, as well as acquisition of core teaching practices.
At the end of each teaching session, lead and apprentice teachers will debrief with teacher-observers to discuss triumphs, challenges and insight unique to each teacher. Observers will be encouraged to ask questions and share their perspectives while lead and apprentice teachers will be encouraged to share their own unique insights as they pertain to teaching the class. After the public debrief, lead and apprentice teachers will debrief privately to discuss strengths and goals for the next class.
Guided practice will be accomplished by co-teaching scenarios in which the lead teacher simply adds to the input and/or helps the apprentice teacher to transition to a new approach or activity. Any guidance will feel natural and imperceptible by students. It will never feel corrective or intrusive. Guidance from the master teacher-trainer will make Teaching Labs a low-stress, comfortable and highly enjoyable experience.
Our goal is to make the teaching lab experience a ‘flow’ activity. According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, an “optimal experience” is one that is genuinely satisfying and results in lasting enjoyment. Flow also happens when a person’s skills are fully involved in overcoming a challenge that is just about manageable, so it acts as a magnet for learning new skills and increasing challenges. If challenges are too low, one gets back to flow by increasing them. If challenges are too great, one can return to the flow state by learning new skills.