This morning a quote from a PLN fritter started me thinking again. She tweeted:
Busy day! Doing a @fitwithfrank with the class, designing a solar system party and rearranging the classroom so we can look out the window and make observations! Love being a facilitator of learning in elementary!
A facilitator of learning in elementary seem like such a fundamental way of teaching the young ones. We always talk about how play based, place based, nature based and personalized learning happens in elementary. We see evidence of student learning and succeeding and just really enjoying school.
Curriculum is a guide here and not the leading force. Content acquisition is important but it is not the determinant of the day. Students at elementary are the most important factor and so we help to lead the learning through hands on experiential ways.
So really what changes with school when we move to middle and high school. Why do we change learning? In high school, we tend to do note taking, class discussion, vocabulary, collaborative work, labs and writing & reading responses. These are all based on our content and curriculum. Most if not all are authority or lecture style. Some as a demonstrator or coach or as a delegator or group style.
Why in high school are we not being the facilitator or activity style? Facilitators promote self-learning and help students develop critical thinking skills and retain knowledge that leads to self-actualization. Is this not where we want our students to be?
So, I personally have spent 20 years as a facilitator in my high school math and science classes. I do things different than most but I can always do better. I never knew how much I was like an elementary teacher until the Canadian Assessment for Learning Conference @CAFLN this year in Delta. I pushed myself to present and share my views of assessment and how I did them in my classes with a group of educators from across Canada. A comment at the end really brought this to the forefront for me.
"I love what you are doing in your classes. It seems to me you were once an elementary teacher and now you are in high school doing this great work."
No I have never been an elementary teacher but I now see how my style of teaching seems that way. I have always taught as if I was teaching me. I am the visual, kinesthetic, tactile student who becomes easily bored and needed to be challenged greatly in some subjects. So for me as an educator, I always look to see how I can facilitate the learning my kids want and fit it into our courses.
So back to this mornings aha moment. I have found my new why. Why am I an educator used to be so I could help all students find success in all courses. Now I have a new mission in mind. My new mission is based on why cant we teach high school courses as a facilitator of learning..... I now realize I need to share more of what I do in hopes of changing our outlook for high school as a whole. So look out everyone I am coming out of my silo and I am going to start challenging our status quo in high school.
To be continued.... Maybe at your next pro D.....