Teachers spend countless hours thinking about how best to describe their students for the written reports that go home to parents. At my school, these narrative comments focus less on work on more on learning. Teachers are encouraged to consider what they know about the whole child and to describe who each one is as a learner.
I challenge other teachers and leaders to reflect on their learning this year and write their own reports…
Dean Kuran – Grade 6, 2016
Dean is a caring, enthusiastic learner who has taken many risks this year in his pursuit of being the best member of the school community he can be. He has demonstrated the qualities of being a risk-taker, moving into a new learning environment and being willing to take on new challenges, including a lunchtime drone-flying club, presenting and hosting TeachMeets, giving his students more ownership of their learning – while discovering the delicate line between ownership and anarchy – being ready to speak up and accept when he has made mistakes and responding positively to constructive criticism.
Dean has been resilient in the face of unforeseen circumstances, for both himself and his peers. He has focused on finding a balance between extra-curricular activities and non-negotiable tasks. Dean has sought assistance from experts as he looks to take the next step in his development as a facilitator of learning, and has enjoyed experimenting more with inquiry approaches to writing and mathematics. He has dabbled in mindfulness, breathing exercises and a healthier lifestyle to reduce his stresses, and to assist those who also need time to regulate their emotions.
Dean enjoys developing his learners into effective communicators so that they are confident and feel secure when they speak. He focuses on creating an environment that is safe, welcoming, flexible and energetic. Sometimes, the energy levels can reach a point that may not be conducive for effective learning, and Dean is encouraged to be more composed and forthright with this expectations.
As an inquirer, Dean has experimented with a variety of approaches to his learning, including the split-screen method, various thinking routines like this (a personal favourite, particularly in Number), and team-teaching. He has become so aware that learning is not about the product; it is about the process. The trials and tribulations. The new skills we learn, and the old skills we extend. The knowledge we gain. The actions we take.
He is supported by a close network of mentors, peers and incredible learning support staff, who have enabled him to think deeply about the kind of educator, member of staff and person he wants to be for his students and those around him. He loves a walk down the road for a coffee too.
Above all, Dean seeks two qualities from his learners, and they are the two that were sought from him by his parents; respect and responsibility.
Dean understands that there is a long way to go on this learning journey, but he is excited for what is to come next.
Process, not product.
Actions, not words.
(Leave a link to your report post in the comments.)