A week into August and my mind is abuzz with ideas, plans, and questions about the coming school year. I am eager to get started, excited to meet my kidlets, keen to try new things, and yet nervous about how it will all unfold.
I am constantly striving to improve my practice, to be a better teacher, to find a better way. I want to find strategies, tools, and approaches that will address the needs of each of my kids, engage them in meaningful learning experiences, and help them to grow and flourish as unique individuals. To do this, I know it is important to clarify and articulate my philosophy of learning, to align my philosophy with my practice, and to be intentional and thoughtful in my choices.
“He who is afraid of asking is ashamed of learning.”
This summer, Twitter has provided a new space for me to find ideas, strategies, and tools, and to reflect upon my practice, to rethink my philosophy, and to consider my choices. For example, just this morning, I stumbled upon @NancyTeaches‘ blog post, Want Children to Love Reading, then Throw Away the Reading Logs. A short time later, I found myself following a conversation between @Grade1 @soltauheller @maxxakahotdog @FlyontheCWall @MrMacnology on Twitter #daily5 about the ellimination of reading logs…. Then tonight, I read @michellek107‘s post, Why I blog.
My tweeps challenged my thinking and brought my current practice into question. They encouraged me to reflect on my rationale for reading logs and to ponder new options. Their shared thinking inspired me to consider the importance of asking why more often.
Why do I assign reading logs? Why do I insist parents sign the logs? Why do I provide rewards for signed logs? Unfortunately, if I am to be honest in my answers regarding the purpose of a few of my current strategies and approaches, these practices do not align with my philosophy of learning. I believe in honouring children, in responding to the needs of my kids, and in the power of inquiry-based, child-centred learning. In fact, if I am brutally honest, I think my answers to the above questions are one in the same, ‘Why?…Because that’s the way I was taught’. Ouch!! The truth hurts…
“Good questions outrank easy answers.”
As @gcouros pointed out in a blogpost earlier in the summer, The Why, “the ‘why’ creates the opportunity to start with the end in mind.” He quoted Simon Sinek, from the Ted video on The Importance of Why, noting that “it is those that start with why have the ability to inspire others, or to find others that inspire them”.
And so as I plan and prepare for the new school year, I will try to focus on asking why more often, on starting with the end in mind, and on walking my talk. Afterall, actions speak louder than words…
I have definitely found others that inspire me! I feel privileged and grateful to have found a PLN that challenges me to reflect upon, clarify, and articulate my philosophy of learning; to align my philosophy with my practice; and to be intentional and thoughtful in my choices.
“If there is something to gain and nothing to lose by asking,
by all means ask!”