Dean encourages teachers to restructure classrooms based on the whole child

“Knowing that we may have to restructure what we do and how we do it, we have the opportunity to truly reexamine our practice and adjust it accordingly to better meet the academic needs of our students,” said Mertler.

Published Jan. 23, 2013

According to Craig Mertler, dean of the Ross College of Education at Lynn University, teaching isn’t just about making sure students get good grades. “It’s about the whole child. It’s a more comprehensive approach to pre K -12 education,” said Mertler. “The initiative focuses on ensuring that each child in every school in the United States is healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged.”

Mertler recently appeared as a guest on the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)’s The Whole Child Podcast and The Whole Child Blog. His blog post, “Common Core, Whole Child, Teacher Leadership, and Action Research: A Perfect Storm,” discusses the opportunities associated with the Common Core State Standards and outlines tactics to help teachers restructure their classrooms.

“I am a firm believer that collaboration, especially in terms of creating professional learning communities or teams infused with action research can not only enable teams of professional educators to lead and sustain vitally important efforts that meet the needs of the total child, but will also actually foster and promote these kinds of professional activities and endeavors,” wrote Mertler. “To me, this is the true example of teacher leadership.” 

Mertler says the whole child concept is already embedded into Lynn’s College of Education’s curriculum. 

“Our students are introduced to a broad-based approach to teaching, and to education in general,” said Mertler. “We teach Lynn’s future teachers about all aspects of child development, growth and academic success. The idea is to approach the education of children as a long-term, sustainable approach to student success. In this sense, student success is much more broadly defined to include not only success through grade 12, but also success in post-secondary education, career and citizenship. It’s about being able to address the total needs of the child and family, not just those that take place in the classroom.”

More on Mertler 

Craig Mertler is dean of the Ross College of Education at Lynn University. His career in higher education has focused on applied classroom and school-based action research that can be used by educators and administrators to develop real-world solutions for their school districts’ needs. He is an expert and author on helping schools interpret testing data and integrate that information into a curriculum.

In this role, Mertler can discuss the Whole Child Initiative, implications of cheating and plagiarism at the elementary school, high school and/or college levels; advantages and disadvantages of standardized testing; how to interpret testing data; the importance of holding teachers and principals accountable; and the local and national implications of education laws including Former President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and President Obama’s Race To The Top program; among other topics in education.