That’s a question I heard several teachers ask their students. I told a teacher I heard her say it. She said: ‘By checking if students understood what you meant, you reduce the chance of things going wrong, or other as planned later on.’ I will take that with me.
Yesterday I told about the ownership given to children, and how it wasn’t something that was really visible in the way teachers worked with students. Today the opposite was seen througout the entire school.
We went to the Neighborhood School, in New York. Wow! How enthusiastic this made me! In Alexis’ class, students were working as young researchers, working on the subject of native Americans.
Children were reading books, to find parts they wanted to know more about. It was their own choice what to do.
They did have to make sure they somehow were going to be able to tell other students what they have learned, tomorrow.
I asked children in what way they are free to make their own choices in school. A boy told me that the teachers set out the subjects, but they often get to decide their own way of learning.
That got me so pumped. I would love to do this some more in the Netherlands.
Back in Holland, I noticed how we make children have to do stuff. They do it because we want them to. In our curriculums is written what to teach the children and how.
When we do IPC at school, we often let the students know what goal is the central one of that lesson, but children are free to roam about within that goal. As long as they’re able to tell us how they’ve grown and learned, it’s okay.
Why can’t we do it with other subject, like grammar? Write down the goals, presented to us in the curriculum, but let the students decide on how to make this goal their own. Later on reflect on what they’ve learned, through assessmentreviews. I think that would be a great way to teach and differentiate. All kids learn how they want, and choose what works best for them.
Ofcourse, this could only work if all teachers within a school are willing to work that way. Then this could be very interesting. Scary, letting go curriculums, but interesting!
To close with something I’m proud of: At the Neighborhood School, children work with a portfolio, instead of a rapportcard.
We allready started working with a portfolio this year. Something that would be cool to add, is to make children reflect on these three points:
- Commitment to growth
- Evidence of change
- Joy and focus
I saw this at the school tomorrow and I see this as something that we could really use in our school. Something I’m surely taking with me!
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