I can’t wait….

This will be a series of 4 posts over the next few weeks thinking about how to change our thinking on learning.

 

I can’t wait until teachers start to hand over the control to students.

I can’t wait until learning is ingrained into all our lives, not just given lip service.

I can’t wait until schools look more like the unique learning opportunities our students need.

I can’t wait until students are given opportunities to reflect like real learners.

I can’t wait until teachers and students feel comfortable sharing their own learning  outside of their school walls.

I can’t wait until students begin to have portfolios compared to just grades.

I can’t wait until the students become teachers and teachers become students.

Think of what our school culture, our learning culture would look like if we made this shift where teachers were shifting their thinking from what was to what could be. All of these statements above are related to the what could we be doing type of thinking.

shift your thinking from what was (the past) to what could be (the future)

Our school learning culture is directly related to thinking about what could be happening compared to what we have done in the past. We don’t need to throw everything away that we’ve ever done, but we do need to be looking into the future for what we could be doing. As we start to shift our thinking to student directed learning, the options of what could be become more and more. Pedagogical shifts begin to occur when we start to assess our best practices and if they really are the best practices. To begin to create this culture we need to shift our approaches, the ways we develop learning opportunities and control in learning.

I can’t wait until teachers start to hand over the control to students. This is a big shift in our thinking. Sure we have pockets of greatness where much learning has been handed over to students, but is it across the board? How can we hand over control in learning to students? Creating opportunities is as easy as asking the students to come up with questions about an image, a puzzle, a problem. You, as a teacher, can plan a lesson, but allow for students to determine the scope with their own questions. Angela Watson has a great post on student centered learning and really gives great strategies that help you approach this opportunity. The one that I feel is the most important is #5 Let kids help design the learning outcome. The other four are important, but think about how students can help design what their outcomes look like. You start with a question and students let you know how they would like to evaluate their own work. This is a powerful way to structure your day. How often has this happened in your lessons? How can you shift your thinking so that students feel this is an important part of their learning culture? There is a dire need in helping students learn to allow this to happen, take away your pre-built rubrics and build one together. Powerful opportunities, powerful culture shift.

You start with a question and students let you know how they would like to evaluate their own work. How can you shift your thinking so that students feel this is an important part of their learning culture?

If this bird has control of the outcome, will it be successful?

How can you shift your thinking so that students feel designing the learning outcome is an important part of their learning culture?

I can’t wait until learning is ingrained into all our lives, not just given lip service. Think about how many teachers say we want our students to be successful lifelong learners. Do we really mean that? Do our actions show that? How have teachers created opportunities for students to become lifelong learners? Learning is fluid and when teachers want students to be lifelong learners, teachers should be modeling that.

When students come in to our classrooms, we don’t allow for them to say “I don’t have time to  learn something new!”. We need to stop saying to students they will need this information and start helping them build a tool chest of knowledge, just like we do. What I have experienced in the past few months though, makes me question if teachers really are lifelong learners or just give lip service to that idea. Many times I have heard teachers say, “I don’t have time to learn something new!” Is this what we want to be showcasing to our students? Conversations need to be started on how to develop those mindsets, we’ve read Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck (great resources by Larry Ferlazzo), but haven’t internalized it. We talk to students all the time about it, but don’t showcase it in our own learning. Teachers are lifelong learners, always striving to learn something new. Broadening your knowledge increases your ability to find new ideas and innovate for your students. Lifelong learning becomes ingrained into our being, it becomes a part of us, not just lip service.

What can’t you wait for?? What will we do over the next few weeks and months to create a culture where we are looking forward, not just looking back?

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