Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Slice of Life- The Challenge of Learning


Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants. 

There aren't many times when someone else's share becomes my slice of life for the day, but this morning when I visited Heather's room and she told me what she was doing in order to become a better teacher, I knew I had to share it with anyone who would listen. Her commitment to teaching and learning is that inspiring!
The first thing Heather showed me was her pillowcase she made. At first I didn't understand the significance of the pillowcase. Yes, it's bright, and the green satin edging is lovely trim. From the perspective of a seamstress, I think the edges were pretty straight, and I didn't see any puckering or loose threads. I'd expect that from Heather though, since her room is one of the craftiest rooms in our district. However, my perspective changed when she told me this was her first sewing project ever. In order to simulate the learning her students have to do, she wanted to try to learn something herself that would be hard. 

 Heather showed me the book she was using and she told me about the lessons she was taking. It's challenging to learn something new--it's frustrating, and confusing, and humbling, especially when others around you are doing it so easily. And then there's the outcome where the seams aren't perfect, or the case doesn't fit the pillow, or the straight line puckers, or the sewing machine jams. There's also the issue that everything takes so long, even though it seems like it shouldn't. 

For many of us, literacy skills don't require large amounts of metacognitive thinking, and they don't drive us to frustration and a desire to give up and just buy a nice pillowcase. I love that Heather is putting herself in a learning situation that simulates the feelings that students may be having--yes, I have no doubt that she will be a better teacher!

Maybe I'll take up piano...

Happy Writing,

11 comments:

  1. It is so important to connect and remember what it feels like to learn something and feel vulnerable. She will use this in so many ways throughout the year. I remember in graduate school there was a learning theory class we had to take. As a part of it we all had to sign up to learn something new for 12 weeks. It was a really powerful experience -- I learned to knit. Thanks for sharing
    Clare

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  2. Yes, that's amazing! What a great model of the growth mindset!

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  3. I love this piece! It resonated so much with me...I struggle as a seamstress, but I do play the piano. This made me think that what one might find easy, another might struggle. Isn't that what makes learning authentic--recognizing that we all have our own strengths and challenges no matter what we are trying to learn. Thank you!

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  4. I love this piece! It resonated so much with me...I struggle as a seamstress, but I do play the piano. This made me think that what one might find easy, another might struggle. Isn't that what makes learning authentic--recognizing that we all have our own strengths and challenges no matter what we are trying to learn. Thank you!

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  5. This is such an important goal for all of us - to challenge ourselves to do something hard, to feel like a learner again. Love this!

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  6. I read something recently about how nobody quits something that is easy. This teacher's example reminds me of how easy it is for our students to quit when it is hard - especially reading. I am sure she has learned so much from this experience.

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  7. I love her pillowcase and even more when I read that it was her first sewing project. Makes me want to dig out the quilt I started long ago and then thought . . . I'll finish this when I retire. That time is here.

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  8. Wonderful slice to share with all of us! It's a great reminder that we are all learners, and that sometimes, we need to put ourselves out there, just to see what we truly can do and become! Thank you for sharing this with us!

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  9. Wonderful slice to share with all of us! It's a great reminder that we are all learners, and that sometimes, we need to put ourselves out there, just to see what we truly can do and become! Thank you for sharing this with us!

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  10. What great modeling for her students - putting words into actions. LOVE it!

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