I am so excited to be teaming up with The Primary Gal for her Learn Like a Pirate book study! I am loving this book so far and I can’t wait to read more and see what everyone is thinking!
Here’s what I’m thinking about Section 1: The Student-Led Classroom
I so want to give my students more control. I really, really do. But I’m a little bit of a control freak…let’s be real here, aren’t most teachers control freaks on some level?
I always give the reason: “First graders aren’t ready to take control of their learning.” or “I work in a co-taught room. I can’t just make classroom decisions on my own.” But I really know that I’m wrong. It’s just scary to change things so dramatically.
Don’t get me wrong, I teach guided reading and my students work in centers. They usually complete one activity I assign and then self select their activities for the rest of that time (though I’m working on that, too!) and this lets me believe that they are taking over some of the responsibility in the classroom. But, I know this isn’t enough.
My school is working on a building wide focus on “GRIT” next school year and Salozar speaks to the idea that we can teach children to push through mistakes and learn from failure. He recognizes that students can learn from their mistakes AND that it’s valuable for them to see their teacher make mistakes, too. But how hard is that! Who likes to struggle or fail? Not me, but I ask my students to put themselves out there and take risk everyday, so I’m going to do it, too.
Something that came up in “How Children Succeed” by Paul Tough and that Solarz also comments on is that we so often protect our children and students from failure, that they make only the safe choices in life. They pick the sure thing because they don’t know how to fail. Failure is part of life and by giving children the chance to try, struggle and maybe fail we are teaching an important life skill that is better learned in the classroom than in the first big job interview.
I can’t wait to dig in deeper and think more about how this will work in my classroom…it’s hard to argue with the ideas Salozar offers in support of the student lead room:
– The teacher has more time to offer immediate, relevant feedback to students and ensure learning
– Students need to learn how to ask better questions and discover answers.
– Students learn 90% of what they teach others.
– Collaboration teaches important life skills, including grit, problem-solving and leadership.
What’s not to love?!?
One last thought from Dave Burgess in the introduction of Learn Like a Pirate: Education isn’t just about raising test scores; it’s about raising human potential.
It’s a big job. Let’s get to it!
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