In reading George Couros’ book The Innovator’s Mindset, the question ‘Would you want to be a learner in your own classroom?’ comes to mind.
I sit here and think to myself, Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom… and I’m not sure of my answer to that question.
When I think back to my experience as a learner (elementry school, middle school, high school, university) there are certain things that stand out to me that I HATED.
1. I remember dreading ‘taking notes’ off of the board and writing them down in a rushed fashion into my notebook. I always felt like I was rushing to make sure I got everything down before the teacher moved on to the next slide, or overhead sheet. Did I actually ever know what I was writing down? Or was I just writing down words and sentences that I was going to have to re teach myself later? Was the teacher really teaching me these things? Was I missing the information because I was just rushing to make sure I got all of the notes down.. ?
–> Am I doing this? Do I now do this to my students?? Do I give them a task and make them complete it just to have the finished product.. am I actually teaching them the concept?
2. Sitting all day long in a chair that was attached to the desk.. YUK Looking back at my many years of sitting in a hard chair that was attached to my small desk, I remember being so uncomfortable. I would try and stretch my legs out, or twist around in my chair, or get up to go to the bathroom just to get my legs moving again. Is this something that I would want my students to experience as a learner?
–> When I think of my classroom I would like to think that I do a pretty good job of allowing my students choice in their workspaces and seating options. We have many different seating options and students are allowed to sit anywhere and in anyway to work. But… can I do better?? I think of my carpet time.. and I think of my students who want to walk around, or sit on chairs or lay down.. and I find myself allowing it sometimes, and other times I want them all on the carpet. But why? Do I need to have them all sitting on the carpet.. why cant they sit on chairs? This makes me think if they would be MORE engaged if I allowed them to make that choice? hmmm
3. Lack of choice. BORING. I remember being told I HAD to read this book, or HAD to do this assignment, or HAD to study topic. Why???? Why did I have to do it that way?? Why cant I research _____.. or present on _____.. or write my notes on my computer.. Why did it have to be that way? Why were we never given choice?
–> I think about choice in my classroom and I can confidently say that I can do better. Yes I give my students choice in seating. Yes I give them choice in their reading. Yes I give them choice on what they want to write about. But I know I could give them more choice. My students should be helping me to making choices on the topics that we look at and research. They would make choices on HOW they do their writing. Why do I make them write out every book on paper before they make an E-BOOK. Why don’t I let them create an E-BOOK right away? I think to myself now… how can I incorperate more choice in my classroom. Will giving my students freedom in choice be beneficial ?
So do I want to be a learner in my own classroom? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Can I create a classroom that I am DYING to be in? YES.