Jocelyn and I worked hard last year in our shared class to create a learning community, to make thinking visible, to have open discussion about learning itself and to help our kids develop a sense of ownership of their learning. So it’s no surprise that in the first week in his new class, one of our ex-students (aged 11) raised his hand and asked his new teacher (politely!) what the educational purpose of the assigned task was. There was a collective gasp from the kids around him, but the teacher was happy to explain. It made her aware of the importance of being sure everyone knows why they are doing what they are doing and how it supports or enhances the learning.
We unpacked this further in a team meeting and it made us realise how often we do things without really considering why…
1. Do you expect students to do what you tell them even if they don’t know why?
2. Do you usually teach to the whole class?
3. Do you think following textbooks and filling in worksheets is learning?
4. Do you assess learning by giving a test at the end of each topic?
5. Do you have students’ desks in lines facing the front?
6. Do you think students learn best by sitting quietly and listening?
7. Do you forbid students from going to the bathroom or eating if they are hungry?
8. Do you think you can contain learning within the classroom walls?
9. Do you control the learning in your class?
10. Do you expect students to do what you tell them even if you don’t know why ?
One point for each ‘yes’ answer.
10 points: You might need to make some changes…
0 points? Do you sometimes feel like you speak a different language from your colleagues?
4 thoughts on “10 things you might need to change…”
Ed, These are very similar to the questions I ask the first day of my teacher-trainee and PD class. Our experience in Mexico is very traditional; if someone fell asleep for 150 years and woke up in our classrooms, he would feel right at home.
It’s time to change the ‘I’m in control’ mode. Thanks for puttin git out there. I will refer my students to your blog.
Interesting questions posed here. I don’t know if you are familiar with his work, but Dr. Tobin Hart of the University of West Georgia does some great work on this topic.
The website for his work is: http://www.childspirit.org/
And, his academic site is: http://www.westga.edu/~psydept/hart.html
He is more easy to access by phone than by email, so keep that in mind if you reach out to him.
I love the cartoon that illustrates this so well. It’s such a great goal to be that tiny, happy figure in the corner!
So proud of your previous student for challenging the learning in a way that was humble and honoring enough that the teacher wasn’t offended but instead realized the importance in including students in every part of the learning.