Monday, May 30, 2011

Trusting students to learn

    As I was grading the final essays, I was reflecting about how much learning takes place outside of the classroom.  I don't want it to take place solely F2F - I only get my students for 42 minutes a day for all English instruction. 
Trust in paintphoto © 2010 alice combes | more info (via: Wylio)

    When does such outside-the-classroom learning take place?  When reading - and thinking about what they read.  When writing - which is thinking on paper.  When participating in online activities:  online discussions - thinking, pitting their ideas against others', seeing new ideas and comparing to their own, sharing ideas (like vocabulary understandings) to help everybody understand material better.

    I want the F2F classroom for that it's best for: group and pairs work, asking questions about assignments, asking questions about what they've read - and don't understand, for drama, for presenting work to others, for tests.

    I love that I've expanded class - and in ways students don't always perceive as work!  This reflects my core belief - it's the kids who should be doing the work.  And I have to trust them enough to give them the space to do that thinking work on their own. 

    How demeaning to stand over them, with the idea that students will only do work when I'm present.  I want them to be independent learners.  Well, the training wheels are off. 

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