One approach to great teaching is facilitation: decentering yourself. Standing to the side, out of the students’ way, and moving to more of a facilitative role of teaching. And one critical ingredient in such an approach is student confidence (for problem-solving, for example) and self-efficacy.
“It puts me in a focused and good mood,” said Monica, a third grader at the school. Every morning during the 15-minute meeting, students greet each other, have sharing time, do a quick movement activity and review the schedule for the day. Educators say this routine is an invaluable way to help students transition from home to school; it helps build a community where students feel cared for, known and ready to learn.
The Values Point of View model reinforces three key notions:
Programmed values aren’t nearly as powerful as developed values. A developed value is thoughtfully chosen from alternatives, with an understanding of the consequences of the alternatives, and acted on over time, prized and publicly owned.
Values are individually held and issue-based. A value is a choice you make regarding a specific issue. You can hold one type of value when it comes to women’s rights and another when it comes to gun control. The problem is that many people fail to explore their values and underlying beliefs, depending instead on unexplored programmed values that are general and generational.
Values are at the heart of motivation. Programmed values are more likely to lead to suboptimal motivation; developed values are more likely to result in optimal motivation. When we take action that is aligned with our developed values, we experience vitality, sustainable positive energy and greater sense of well-being.
Whether a boomer, Gen X’er, millennial, or Gen Z’er, if you don’t understand the ends and means of the values you hold, you are most likely operating on programmed values without realizing it. Emphasizing generational values is not only personally limiting, but it also creates organizational problems.
I would never tell someone who’s using a discipline strategy that they feel really works that they’re wrong. What I say to my mom is, “The tools and strategies that you used and our grandparents used weren’t wrong, they just don’t work with modern kids.” Ultimately, we want to instill self-discipline in our children, which will never happen if we’re always controlling them.
More and more people in education agree on the importance of learning stuff other than academics.
But no one agrees on what to call that “stuff”.
How does social media influence all this?
It really matters to teenagers to be included by their social group, by their friends, and so they’re more likely to go along with what their friends think. Social media like Instagram or Snapchat or Facebook or whatever it might be, allows teenagers to exercise their desire to make social contact all the time. They never get away from it, even in the middle of the night.
There’s not very much research on how social media affects the developing brain, but one area that I’m pretty convinced by is the effect on sleep. A lot of young people who I work with, they will have their phones on all night. They won’t turn them off. They won’t put them on silent and they even respond to messages that come in throughout the night. That surely affects sleep and we all know that sleep is so critical for mental health and learning.
BE A LEARNER
“Resilient people are curious,” Aguilar says. “Resilient people experience a challenge and turn around and say, Wow. That was really hard. That pushed me to my limits. What can I learn from that? Just that question alone immediately propels you into a place of being able to build your resilience.” So this month, teachers are encouraged to reflect on who they are as learners, to better understand the stages of the learning process, and to practice seeing challenges as invitations to curiosity.
PLAY AND CREATE
One tool for building resilience that is easy to overlook is the habit of play. “I think it’s a human right to be creative, to create, enjoy, and appreciate art,” Aguilar says. “Playing and creating can unlock inner resources for dealing with stress, for solving problems…it can help us see different things and find different approaches to tackle challenges.” This month—which may hit right around spring break—teachers are encouraged to build regular periods of play and creation into their daily lives.
TELL EMPOWERING STORIES
“The space where we can have the greatest impact on our resilience is between a thing that happens and how we interpret and make sense of that thing,” Aguilar says. That interpretation takes the form of a story we tell ourselves.
there are many “portable skills” required in any academic project, no matter the subject. These are things like determining importance, asking questions, thinking about purpose and audience, and even clarifying confusion. Students need these skills in everything they learn, but often aren’t aware of them as interstitial thinking steps necessary for a deeper analysis or more meaningful product. And often teachers don’t realize students are missing those thinking skills either.
“The heart of personalized learning is personal — it is about knowing the person in front of you and expecting the best of them.”
Reach. In order for any information to be stored in the brain, it must be received through sensory memory. It therefore behooves us to take into consideration novelty, need, choice, attention, motivation, emotion, and meaning to get and keep student attention.
Reflect. There’s an old joke about teaching being the instructor’s ability to take his notes and give a lecture that will go to the student’s notes without passing through either’s brain. Giving students time to “linger over learning,” may help make the connections from new material to old.
Recode. This is simply the act of students taking information and putting it in their own words. We know that self-generated material is better remembered. Writing is a memory strategy.
Reinforce. Once students have recoded, teachers must provide feedback on the recoded information. We don’t want to rehearse misinformation.
Rehearse. Strategies for rehearsal will help teachers and students discover optimal rehearsal techniques.
Review. Whereas rehearsal puts information into long-term memory, review presents the opportunity to retrieve that information and manipulate it in working memory. This act makes the memory stronger.
Retrieve. The type of assessment used can affect the student’s ability to retrieve stored information. Accessing stored memories may be reliant on specific cues.
With experience, I came to recognize that for my students to be successful, I needed to engagingly address academic essentials while recognizing individual student thought processes and interests. Playful learning, open-ended challenges and social activities seemed to captivate my students. Many of them chose to spend their time outside of school playing games, and it became clear that their love of games mirrored my own. A moment of inspiration came while observing my students as they played different types of games—they were fueled by various motivations. I thought, if I could identify what motivated them during play, I could tap into that during learning.