Even though I am the “big boss” of my classroom, everything I do depends on the thoughts, actions, interests and needs of the kids in my class. Technically, I lead the classroom. But truthfully, the students lead me.
When I stop to listen to what my pupils have to say, I regularly find myself with the opportunity to marvel at the world. I am constantly grateful for the gifts of insight delivered through the words of children.
One time we talked a lot about whether 100 years of history tell a story of progress or repetition. https://ateacherislikeacandle.wordpress.com/2020/08/04/a-candles-favourite-lesson-of-the-week/ This was a wonderful segway into a discussion about the growth mindset.
Here are just a snippet of some ideas brought forward by kids in my class:
“Making mistakes is good for us”
“Progress doesn’t mean instant success”
“Progress means helping yourself get a better life”
Do many full-grown adults you know possess such optimistic and ambitious attitudes towards failure?
I recently read somewhere that to be a good friend, you should spend 70% of your time listening to them talk and only 30% of the time doing the talking yourself.
Imagine if teachers had the freedom to, and chose to, apply this ratio to classroom discussions!
Not only would educators be more adept at matching their teaching to the passions and learning gaps of the learners, as well as framing questions and providing the right conditions for deepening student understanding, but we would also be less stressed and burnt out.
Instead we could be invigorated by the chance to marvel at the clever and profound thoughts of young people who have the ability to synthesise their experience and apply this wisdom to make everyone’s future better and brighter.
Maybe then the next 100 years would actually tell a story of progress, and not merely repetition.