My colleagues, Chad and Glenn, and I were not feeling very good about our teaching and learning at the start of the week. We felt that our students were confused and that our teaching had recently become a series of disconnected activities. We felt that our students would probably not be able to tell anyone why they were doing the things they were doing. We felt that they were not learning with intention, or behaving with an intention to learn.
The worst thing was… we felt that it was all our fault.
Since then, we have really tried to help our students to understand the value of what they are doing, to be able to see the learning in everything they do and to be able to see how their behaviours have an impact on learning.
Here is how we are trying to do that.
In my class, we have adopted a “mantra”. Either before, during or after doing anything… we ask ourselves these two questions. The effect has been profound and, after just a couple of days, students are able to see the value in the things that we do – as long as there is value to them!!!
In Glenn’s class, they have been discussing what teachers and students will “look like” when involved with learning. They have then been going back to this at the end of a session and asking themselves if they were doing those things and what may or may not have prevented them from doing so.
In Chad’s class, they have been picking apart the things they do by asking “where is the learning?” and Chad has really been expecting the kids to look “beyond the obvious” and to share their thinking on large rolls of paper which are then displayed in the room.
We are making the implicit explicit, making sure we can always answer these questions, making sure there is always value to the things we do and making sure the students can see the purpose and value in the things they do each day. Learning can only become more powerful, and students will hopefully become increasingly independent learners.
I think the three of us should end the week feeling a bit better about ourselves as teachers than we did at the start of the week.