One of the things I enjoy most, now that I no longer have my own class, is when teachers excitedly share examples of student thinking and learning with me.
Here is a lovely learning reflection by 12 year old Sassi (with her permission)…
At the beginning of this year, our teacher sent us an ibook called ‘Making The PYP Happen.’ This book has so much information on different ways of learning, how to look at different big ideas, this book explains concepts, explains attitudes, clarifies learner profiles and gives me great ideas on how to look at a big chunk of information.
At the start of Term 1 in Mrs. B’s class, I didnt really understand how I could go deeper in my learning and wasn’t sure how to take the information and learn in this different way. Now, half way into Term 3, I can’t imagine learning in the other way that I used to.
A big word that Mrs. B taught us at the beginning of the year was ‘metacognition’ and that means thinking about thinking. I now realize that to really be successful in your learning (in 2014) you first have to make sure that the way you look at your learning is the best way of doing so.
I am now a reflective learner who gets more out of the activity by looking back and also observing as I go. I really like having my own Weebly blog and I love adding posts to the ‘Learning Journey’ page, where I look back at what skills I have used in the last week. I take into account how those skills helped me so that I can use them and improve when I do another activity. I have become a critical thinker and I look at each side of any story or fact.
I used to think that learning would stop when I went out of the classroom. I now know that if one wants, one can be a life long learner and always learn and be a thinker in any situation.
This way of learning definitely suits me and I can definitely see how much I have developed as a learner – from just doing work and making sure I understand the formula, into a learner who inquires and clarifies how it works to understand why it is like it is.
I will take all of my metacognitive skills with me throughout my life in school and outside of school. Because I have developed so much as a learner, I feel that I can pick up on things faster and learn in a better way.
My observations about learning in this class:
- Learners have access to the ‘handbook’ which details the desired knowledge framework, conceptual lenses, skills and attitudes we hope they will develop. No ‘secret teacher business’!
- Learners use the language of learning, without the teacher being concerned about difficult vocabulary. She has faith in her students’ ability to learn.
- Learners are empowered to take ownership of their learning and given the tools with which to do so.
- Learners are encouraged to think deeply, not just just about WHAT they learn but about HOW they learn. They consciously observe themselves as learners and reflect on their learning.
- Documenting their own learning supports students in the reflection process. Doing so on a blog means others beyond their classroom can participate and comment. (This class also has bubble catchers in which they capture their thinking through writing, mind mapping or illustration, taking care to ‘tag’ their reflections with the big ideas.)
- Learning isn’t viewed as class work, but as an ongoing, indeed lifelong process. Our learning principles are alive and evident in this learning space!
- Learning how to learn, think critically, see different perspectives and understand themselves as learners takes students far beyond content or curriculum.
Unfortunately, it seems that some learners see this as a different ‘way of learning’. Isn’t this what learning should always be like?