Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Update: Helpless learners and the opposite

Today, after yesterday's frustrations, I sat down with two of my most motivated, unafraid-to fail at anything classes and asked:
What do you do in your head that allows you to get past your initial fear (of seeing something that you don't understand) and just get to work?  What's your process?

The answers were fascinating and led me to almost cry in joy.  These answers came from a class of 7th graders that I have only just started teaching in October, and 8th graders that I have been teaching since last year.

  • I looked at the words I know and just wrote those down.  The others came to me.
  • I remembered what I know about (Italian, French, from last year) and tried to figure it out.
  • It's fun to figure it out.  
  • It's fun to have the challenge- like a puzzle. 
  • I read the words around the hard words and figured it out.
Then I asked why it was fun- what was happening in their heads or in the class to make it something that they wanted to do.  (This was where I almost started crying.)

  • It's not a competition in this class.
  • It's ok to get the wrong answer in this class.
  • If it's challenging it means I'm learning.
  • How we learn in this class isn't stressful.
  • You make it fun.
  • I appreciate how you make it ok to be wrong, and we get to do fun stuff.  
  • We are all on the same level here.
  • Even the homework is awesome.  
So, my big question is:  what did I do with those two classes?  How can I recreate that feeling of love, support, trust, fun, and safety so that all my kids feel like that?  

And also, how do I celebrate such a mind-blowing success???  WOW!!!  

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