Monday, March 17, 2014

Let Them Be Heard

(courtesy of techtreklms.blogspot.com)

What a student recalls from a teachers lesson often comes from the experience of how it is taught. In the world of education teachers are looking for ways to reach their students through authentic, real-life experiences with the intention of students grasping as much of the information as possible with the hopes they can apply that knowledge in future opportunities.

This much we should know.

Being in classrooms (whether in the informal visit, walk-through's or formal observations) I have been asking, and more importantly listening, to students share about the lessons their teachers are delivering. Teachers are also being more intentional about listening to the voice of their students and connecting the feedback they are getting and applying it to future instruction.

Here are some powerful moments in teaching just this past week that was a combination of student voice and a teachers planning for instruction:
  • 7th Grade Science Lab with Mr. Ribar in which they crushed a can through the lesson that was teaching them about the exchange of energy. A hand's on, get dirty (carefully) experience.
  • Finding an appreciation for Art with Mrs. Murlin through using devices and QR codes to find examples in the world through the use of the internet.
  • Working in collaborative groups to create a time-line of events in Social Studies with Mr. Swallie as he provides them with an unorganized set of facts that the students have to organize through dialogue.
  • In Language Arts the entire Department holding Socratic Seminars where students share their experiences of their reading and writing while the teacher plays the role of facilitator.
In the conversations with my students as I pass through classrooms they are sharing like never before. They have so much to say. We need to listen.

Students are passionate about their voice. Not only in what is on their minds but also for the experiences that occur at school. They are willing to talk about what is best practice and what they consider to be authentic learning. And surprisingly, or maybe not a surprise at all, they know exactly what that looks like.

As long as we continue to listen, and apply what we hear, teaching and learning will continue to grow in it's impact on the world of education.