Core is Key: 4 Reasons Why
If you’re working on being more fit, you know that core strength is really important. Core strength leads to balance, stability, and good posture (no slouching). It’s also key to many everyday activities that we do (bending, reaching, standing, sitting…) and often do without thinking. If core muscles are weak, we lose balance and stability, we slouch, and we have pain that could have been prevented. When we’re talking about classroom instruction, it holds the same importance. Here’s why:
Expectations Become Clear
Just as starting any fitness program, we always have an end in mind. We decide what is important to reach our goals: what and how much we should eat, what type of exercise we should do and how often we should do it, etc. Defining your expectations for core instruction is just as important. It provides the road map for everyone to follow and gives you the accountability tool to ensure that it happens.
Balanced Instruction & Intervention Prevention
Just as strengthening your core muscles increases your balance, strong core instruction helps you clearly see which students are struggling so that you don’t spend more time on intervention than you do on core instruction. If core instruction isn’t solid, you’re going to see a lot of gaps in student data. These gaps could be misconstrued as learning deficits for students when they are really gaps in curriculum & instruction. Deficits for students = a plan for intervention to fill those gaps. If core instruction is strong, you can trust that you truly need to do something different for those students who are struggling.
Strengthening your core muscles prevents aches, pains, and unnecessary injuries in other areas. In the same way, good first teaching for all ensures that you can trust that students are getting the same quality instruction across all classrooms in your building. You avoid having to place students strategically in certain classes to avoid exposing them to poor teaching. Team collaboration and a schedule that values their common planning is key to making this happen. When teachers are able to plan core instruction as a group around the same set of standards and instructional expectations, effective practice spreads and all teachers are better equipped (see this blog on the power of effective PLCs).
Better long term outcomes
In the end, if you:
- clearly define core expectations and monitor to insure that they happen
- provide time for teachers to plan together how to insure those expectations happen in every classroom
- use the data along the way to determine improvements that need to be made
better outcomes are guaranteed for EVERY student!
Strengthening your core, whether we’re referring to muscles or instruction, is the foundation we must build on in order to become more “fit”, either health-wise or instructionally. Ignoring it will just lead to more problems. Attending to it will help you focus your time and attention to continuous improvement in areas that truly need it. Core is key!