What are those educational practices that can rightly be called, “timeless”?
In my long career as an education author and consultant (21 years and counting!), I’ve had the privilege of teaching educators and leaders across North America key methods I’ve developed for prioritizing and “unwrapping” standards, writing formative assessments and scoring guides, and designing rigorous curricular units of study for every grade level and content area. However, it wasn’t until the last couple of years that I realized the timelessness of these practices.
Educators know that their state or provincial standards are what they must teach their students. They also know that they must regularly assess their students’ understanding of those standards, and then use the assessment results to inform and adjust their teaching—selecting appropriate instructional strategies and relevant curricular materials to do so. This is the main work and responsibility of each and every teacher, from preschool through high school. And this core responsibility will not change, no matter what external changes continually impose themselves on the day-to-day life of every teacher, particularly within the United States.
For this reason, any professional practice, no matter how long it’s been in use, can rightly be called timeless—so long as it remains timely, relevant to, and effective in improving student learning.
Introducing Timeless Practices
Here are five timeless practices I’ve created and refined that PK-12 educators have been successfully implementing in their classrooms for years. First, I’ll define and briefly describe each one. Then I’ll show the connections between them. Finally, I’ll explain how implementing these practices in a recommended sequence can help teachers achieve the goal that all of us in education are continually pursuing—improved student learning for all!
Let’s start with a definition and description of each practice: