Pull not push…

How often do we instictively push even though the sign on the door says ‘Pull’? We don’t read the sign and leaning on the door seems most likely to open it.

School is often about push. Push to succeed. Push to get high grades. Push to achieve. Push to fit in. Push to participate. Push to comply. Push to work harder.

But the above might not be the most motivating ways to engage students and promote learning. The sign is on the door…


Learning is about pull. A strong provocaton that awakens curiosity. A powerful central idea that excites interest. Essential questions that draw students into meaningful learning. Learning experiences that encourage wondering, exploring, creating and collaborating. Opportunities to construct meaning and transfer learning to other contexts.

We need to read the sign(s). I think if we want to motivate our students to take control of their learning, ‘pull’ not ‘push’ is the way in…

9 thoughts on “Pull not push…

  1. Yes indeed. The students need to be “pulled” into their own learning. Engagement is key. We can’t force them to learn what we want them to learn. And those are the days that the students remember most, the days they were drawn, or pulled, into the learning, the experience. Students need that, a lot. You know you’ve done your job when kids go home and can’t wait to talk about what they learned at school–and you know when they are really engaged when they can’t wait to come back.

    Unfortunately there are too many “forces” acting on teachers outside of the classroom that causes the “pushing” to take place. As the paradigm begins to shift, the pushes will fade and the pulls will promote real, meaningful learning.

    I love the post. Succinct and effective. Thanks.

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  2. You know, I was having a discussion this weekend that talked about how the internet is changing paradigms. The internet used to follow a 100% “pull” methodology. Nowadays, with the booming of social media (which doesn’t seem to go away anytime soon), it looks like the paradigm is now becoming “push”.

    Personally, I don’t browse on my own that much. Yes, I would still “pull” when doing research, but it seems that most of the time that I’m surfing I’m actually looking at things that originally came to me via twitter or any other subscription… including this blog entry.

    So, while I agree with you, and learning should be a “pull”… students will essentially react in the classroom the same way they react in real life. And if they are being affected for this Internet paradigm change as well… well, they will wait for a “push”. That’s just the way it is.

    I wonder if a “push” that provokes “pulling” approach could be more effective?

    Great blog entry, Edna!

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  3. I love this post – to push through takes not much effort or thought – to pull requires action, thought and desire to move ahead – let’s hope our teaching motivates children to want to pull on ahead thanks – just discovered your blog and am going to follow and share it with our readers –
    Cheers

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  4. I love this post and visual! It seems that we do this a lot, we push and push and then stare in amazement that are efforts aren’t taking us anywhere. It is the pull we are after. Brilliant metaphor Edna!

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