Early in my career (Jim), I had the opportunity to work with Foster Cline, M.D. Dr. Cline was a child and adolescent psychiatrist who specialized in treating unattached children. He made a statement three decades ago that “many things need to be learned but often aren’t taught.” As Jan and I received training to become Associates for the Center for Teacher Effectiveness’ “Time to Teach” strategy, these words are as relevant today as they were then.
Educators agree that a growing number of children entering school today are unprepared for many of the expectations of school life. Researchers at the Center for Teacher Effectiveness have discovered that minor, seemingly innocuous events, constitute the overwhelming majority of distractions that throw teachers off their stride and impact the learning environment. Rather than lament the lack of early childhood preparation for schools and claim, “ain’t it awful” while pointing fingers, CTE has developed “Teach-To’s” that allow teachers to establish firm and fair expectations and boundaries for the classroom. Appropriate school decorum may represent a set of unknowns for many students so it makes perfect sense to teach these expectations and get everyone on the same page. Teachers who utilize the “Teach-To’s”, along with the other components of Time to Teach report far fewer distractions, an increase in the amount of time devoted to direct instruction and better performance by students. The “Teach To’s clearly represent the critical vital behaviors that lead to stronger educational and behavioral outcomes everyone is seeking today. It allows us to address Dr. Cline’s observation by teaching those essential expectations that all students must learn.