“What happens when you take the ‘say’ out of essay?”
“What happens when you take the ‘art’ out of article?”
These two quotes have stuck with me since the first general session at the NCTE ’13 convention. I couldn’t think of a better way to jump start “Re-inventing” than putting into perspective the flaw of our educational system. The flaw: taking the voice away from our students; taking away their control.
No one wins when we dictate our students learning, “teachers and students win AND lose together.” We write and read together. We speak and create together. We are one unit together in learning moving towards a future of knowledge.
Letting go of control is easier than it sounds. My number one “go to” is Inquiry Based Learning. I have to admit, if it wasn’t for our Methods course and Dr. Ellington, I’m not sure if I would have “clung” to this concept as I have. It completely breaks the “system” that I grew up in as a student…but let me tell you something; I LOVE IT. It creates the trust, communication, and freedom needed to have a successful classroom community. Students are in charge of their learning, and what student doesn’t love to be in control? Well, actually, quite a few; so how do we deal with the reluctant controllers? We scaffold, facilitate, and provide feedback.
In the session “Letting Go: How to Give Your Kids Control” there were many teachers who questioned this method of instruction. But no question went unanswered and without justification. Information and evidence of your teaching technique is all you need to be successful (minus the students LOVING what they’re doing). The speakers suggested keeping records of student reaction to this method of learning as well as collaborating with your department, librarian, and parents to gain accreditation.
It’s a simple process that produces complex learning.
And the best part? You actually get to SEE your students learning and they actually UNDERSTAND what they’re learning and HOW to learn.