Happy weekend everybody!
This year I have been trying really hard to help my students develop more responsibility and accountability for their learning. Early in the year, I began researching problem based learning strategies and tried to incorporate them in some of my projects. While this required much more planning, and sometimes "thinking" on my part, I felt it was well worth the effort.
When I think about the classrooms I had when I was growing up, I remember the teacher standing at the front of the room doing 95% of the talking and completing 95% of my daily work on a worksheet or workbook. When I became a teacher five years ago, I thought that was the only way to teach. It was a huge shock to me to see that there was a different way -- a better way -- to teach. I have wrestled with finding this better way and am beginning to feel like I am getting there.
As a teacher, my goal is to inspire my students to become lifelong learners. I feel that this cannot be accomplished by me being the "sage on the stage" and telling my kids exactly what they need to know. I want them to learn how to discover, how to wonder, how to ask questions, how to search out answers, how to take their learning farther. I want to be their supporter, their advisor, their mentor, and their cheerleader. Perhaps this is why I have embraced math workshop and writers workshop so much -- because it puts the kids in control and makes them more responsible for their learning.
I understand that giving up this control can be very scary. It's easy to say that it is just too much work or would take too much time. I get that. However, I have seen firsthand that when I put my students in charge of their learning, AMAZING things happen. Behavior issues virtually disappear because every student is engaged. There is a feeling of electricity in the air when students are working because they see the value in what they are doing.
Today I came across an AMAZING blog that inspired me to write this post. I hope you will head over to Venspired to get some inspiration of your own. Here is a little something of hers that should get you thinking...
What are your thoughts?