Sunday, 25 February 2018

Are we sparking curiosity in our classrooms? Anyone? Anyone?

Are We Igniting Passions in our learners?  Anyone? Anyone?
#IMOOC Season 4, Week 1 #LCInnovation 


In her book: Learner-Centered Innovation: Spark Curiosity, Ignite Passion, and Unleash Genius, Katie Martin shares this graphic about Student Engagement:
From: Katie Martin, Learner Centered Innovation IMPPress, 2018. p.374 (Kindle version)
This steady decline in engagement makes me sad.  It would be interesting to see the earlier answers of students in grade Kindergarten to Grade 4 included, because I suspect the percentages for engagement would be even higher in the early grades.  Clearly, we are doing something wrong if we are taking kids who love to go to school and by the time they graduate only 18% of them are having any fun.  It makes me ask myself, "What are we doing to kill the joy of learning in our students each day?"

 Is this what our classrooms look like for our students?


I hope not.  That movie is now over 30 years old.  If the 'sage on the stage' technique was resulting in zoned out students 30 years ago, why are we still doing it?  I recently blogged about the resistance to change I've seen in some educators (more specifically regarding technology) in my January 26th post called "Reno Your Pedagogy."  But the problem extends far beyond a resistance to try new technology.  Technology, after all, is just the tool.  Using technology with good pedagogy is the innovation.  I am a classroom teacher.  I don't set policy or procedures.  I can get up on my soapbox/blog, but I know my blog has a limited audience and may only be preaching to the choir at that.  So what can I do to try to bring the trends on that graph back up?

I can only do what I can do.  I can model practices like project based learning and passion projects and using technology to leverage the collaboration of students in my room with students around the world.  I can be a part of initiatives like the Global Read Aloud, encourage my students to get excited about becoming good digital citizens through social media like our classroom Twitter account, website and blogging or vlogging.  I can give them choice in topics to investigate and how they show their learning, be it coding or #BookSnaps or creating videos.  I can keep trying new things, reflecting on them and tweaking them until my classroom is the type of place Dave Burgess talks about, where they would buy tickets to get in the door.  I can make my classroom as engaging a place as I can and hope colleagues see this and start to buy in.

I can only do what I can do, but as it turns out, that's a lot. Are you with me?  Anyone?  Anyone?


10 comments:

  1. I love how you state you can only do what you can do. We all have to start somewhere and not wait for someone else to lead the way. We need to be the leader and it looks like you are doing just that!

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  2. I am with you!! I agree that we know what students need, but frequently what we know doesn't match with what we do. We can be the change we seek. You are with the right group to do just that!

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    1. Thanks for reading and responding Allyson! Looking forward to Facebook live with you!

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  3. I am with you! You start doing what you can do! Don't wait for changes that you don't control. I am sure that you already have the vision and are already making a difference in the lives of the kids you teach!

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    1. Thanks for reading Cristiana! I hope we all are!

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  4. So true. Taking intentional action IS the solution. Your post made me curious about the knowing-doing gap. We sometimes make the assumption that others don't know (hence the blogs, tweets, soapboxes, etc), when really they might know, but don't have the agency to just get going. I wonder how we might better support the risk-taking, courage, collaboration, and support necessary for a larger number of teachers to jump the gap?

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  5. Brian - I wonder about this as well. I encourage teachers who say, "I'm thinking of trying.." by saying "Do It." Derek Rhodenizer (Principal in the Ottawa area and podcaster on www.voicEdRadio.ca has a great way of encouraging his staff by saying "Make the leap and grow wings on the way." Maybe all they need is a little nudge to get them started. Or maybe they need to see what others are doing. If you have others strategies, please share!

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  6. Keeping the classroom engaging is essential. I agree with your comment about the graph. When kids begin school, they want to be there, they want to learn. If we are killing that natural interest through what we are doing, that is just wrong and we should be doing something about it. Every small step towards a more engaging environment benefits children and their futures.

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  7. You can only do what you can do - but you are DOING it and continuing to push the boundaries of what you are doing. I hope that you have an administrator that supports you and encourages you to share with your colleagues. You taking a quiet lead is exactly what some of your colleagues will need to be brave enough to try... the more that try.. the more it will become a culture at your school.

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  8. I like how in subsequent chapters it talks about the need to get started vs. waiting for consensus in innovation in education -- you're at it!

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