Friday, March 25, 2016
Day 25: #SOL16-Remembering to think about how the learning feels
The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by the inspirational writers of Two Writing Teachers. Each March, they invite people to join them in a commitment to write every day. Here's to another year of daily slicing!
Yesterday, I presented questioning strategies to a group of elementary teachers at a social studies conference. Throughout the hour long session, I had teachers do the work that I would normally have students do. When I taught them about the Question Formulation Technique, I had them do the work. I even gave them the link to my presentation and made a new slide where they could type in their questions, having the questions show up on the screen in front of everyone. When I taught them about "Ask five questions, then ask five more" I had them try it out, and when I shared a read aloud, I divided the teachers into question-asking groups the way I would for students. What I did do differently was to hit pause and ask them to take a reading on how they were feeling as learners. What was their engagement level? What was difficult? How were they feeling as learners?
Three of my colleagues were in the session, and when we were having lunch one of them shared that those pauses had been really powerful for her. It turned into a great conversation about why it's so important for teachers to do the work we ask our students to do, really thinking about the metacognition required of the task. None of need a presenter to try out the work we ask of our students; we just need the time and the self-awareness--maybe it's self-discipline, maybe it's self-reminders, maybe I need a better word :)-- to pause and think about the metacognitive processes. The most effective teachers I work with are the ones who not only understand the task, but also have experienced and reflected on the brainwork involved with it.
As always--happy Slicing,