Day 181 (of 184) making choices
While at my daughters soccer game, I made a connection to a twitter DM discussion I had with an educator on Van Island where a common ‘issue’ popped up: making decisions….choices – and specifically how difficult it is for many to do. In the classroom anxiety and other ‘blockers’ can make it … not even difficult …. more like impossible to make choices.
On the pitch: who to throw the ball in to. Or kick to. Or pass to. I could see the angst wash over young faces and both myself and the opposing coach (another educator) use ‘wait time’ and not rescue them….trying hard to not even say ‘hurry up’. And as often as not, the ‘extra think time’ wasn’t used for thinking as throw ins would go right to opponents – but they at least got in-stuck and got the game going again.
In the classroom: what to learn….when they get to make a choice (and not a choice of ‘this or that’). This has been where some discussions got juicy: do students know how to make choices about their learning? They are happy to let adults ‘rescue them’ (untied shoe, unknown word, etc). And this year when we encouraged (forced) some to make choices about what they would learn about (genius hour / wonder wall) it was interesting to see who struggled/s most. Not always the kids you would think of. For our grade 4/5 learners it was the students who excelled on worksheets and ‘one right answer’ methodologies. As learning ‘opened up’, anxiety was released – successfully I will add – it is not like we took students into a zone of frustration and left them there, it we did take them on that journey…
After school: one of the reminders I see/hear every day is around play dates. Are the days of ‘going to the neighbours’ over? Because it can be very difficult for two friends to actually be at their homes at the same times. Schedules are everywhere – especially when extra curricular choices are available (soccer or karate) and a choice may be made to please a parent…but I think things are getting better: I am seeing kids take more ownership over what they are doing during the days (especially [and unfortunately] with BC in the midst of a teacher strike) and having to make choices for themselves. I think it will benefit the classrooms when we reopen!
Even at conferences – I happily now declare that I’m “decamping it” if the workshop I’m in isn’t meeting my needs and I see something more tantalizing on twitter (registration be damned!). I am proudly modelling ‘making choices’ within my learning community – even if they are not all popular… Because when a choice is offered (like four very intriguing learning sessions at tomorrow’s CanFlip14 conference) sometimes sampling will occur!