24 Learning: Skipped to chapter 7

24 Learning

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Skipped to chapter 7

The sports coaching chapter didn't hold my attention. And hey! What bloke wants to talk about relationships? I mean seriously. I had to skip chapter 6. So chapter 7 it is.

To be honest the first 14 pages of this chapter didn't really do much for me on first reading. The message seemed to be about caring for children, giving them messages of valuing learning rather than judgement of performance and "not measuring up".

On page 201 under the heading "Growth-Minded Teachers: Who Are These People?"  was a quote from Seymour Sarason a professor of Carol Dweck. He said, "There's an assumption that schools are for students' learning. Well, why aren't they just as much for teachers' learning?" Carol's reflection was that she thinks about what she finds fascinating  and what she would love to learn more about and that makes her a fresh and eager teacher, even after many years.

I read this and immediately thought about my first year teaching a Year 7 class at South New Brighton School. I had been learning about collaborative learning, habits of mind, integrating ICT into learning, how to engage learners through passion projects, multiple intelligences, and how to integrate curriculum for deeper learning. I was really fortunate to be working with a Principal (Margaret Trotter) who believed in letting people try things out. She allowed me to have heaps of technology in my room (a collection of mac and PC's, cameras, video cameras etc). We experimented with the classroom layout, the furniture and the timetable. We integrated the curriculum and engaged in some lengthy projects. One fond memory is of a three week project. The class self selected groups to work with. Each group had a week (no other lessons in the timetable except sport) to complete their projects. One group made a class magazine, another group made a clayanimation movie and I can't remember now what the third group did. The level of engagement was just spectacular to watch. I wish I had the animation to show you but sadly the following week our classroom was broken into and the computer gear (including the back up drive with the movie on it) was stolen. We were gutted at first. We stayed out of our classroom and went to the library while we waited for the police to come and fingerprint the crime scene. When they didn't show up for two days and then we got the message that they weren't coming we decided to do our own crime scene investigation. We traced the drops of blood from the broken window. Speculated on what they had used to break open the computer cabinet. Inspected the bloody fingerprint left on a shelf. Not quite the ending I had imagined to our movie making venture but great learning in itself.

Anyway... That diversion down memory lane was my mental link to "following your interests." I had been learning about clayanimation, showed the kids what I had learnt and then let them get on with it.

Carol Dweck describes a violin teacher, Dorothy DeLay, and gives examples of her growth mindset influence on her pupils. She says, "Dorothy DeLay was an extraordinary teacher because she was not interested in teaching. She was interested in learning (p.202)."

Right ho! Back to chapter 6...


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