WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
What does teaching in the margins mean? To really understand the concept of teaching in the margins, you’ve got to learn a few things first;
- Margins only exist in comparison to the center.
- Margins are found where the outside world meets the center
- Margins are where the truly engaging, thought provoking, life changing, learning can happen
How do you get to the margins?
You follow your students. Students are REALLY good at getting to the margins. They know what they are curious about. They are embedded in the outside world. Have an open conversation and let them pull you out of the center. Take currents events and link them to the content. Is there some strange weather event happening? Is there some recent discovery that excites you or your students? EVERYTHING IS SCIENCE. Make it your lesson.
This is a TEDx Talk from someone who I really believe understands teaching in the margins.
“Kids get to study things that they are passionate about instead of telling them things they have to learn every single day. This really gives kids ownership of their learning, and makes it very relevant to them” -Kayla Delzer
Everyone is passionate about something. When you have open conversations with your students, you can learn their passions and engage them in the learning process.
Teachable Moments vs. Teaching in the Margins
It’s easy to confuse the two. Here’s the biggest difference;
Teaching in the margins is a long term strategy. Teaching in the margins is often planned although it can be flexible.
Teachable moments can often happen while in the margins but they can happen in the center as well. Teachable moments are short term moments in time where a lesson can be learned. You can’t plan for teachable moments. When they happen, you’ve got to seize the opportunity.
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
When you spend year after year teaching the same material the same way, you WILL get bored, and the kids will notice. Boredom is infectious, but so is excitement. Teaching in the margins and taking a step out of your comfort zone will invigorate your teaching and bring the energy back to the classroom. Be flexible.
Get excited about leaving the center
Jump with both feet. Get a good running start. Don’t be afraid of making a bit of a splash on your way to the margins