What a week this has been! So much to think about.
On Monday Martin Brokenleg engaged us all as he spoke about the Circle of Courage: The spirit of Belonging: I am loved, The spirit of Mastery: I can succeed, The Spirit of Independence: I have the power to make decisions, and the Spirit of Generosity: I have a purpose in my life. Martin’s words of wisdom, stories and insights as a gave us a deeper understanding of how to connect with youth at risk. Not only youth at risk, but every child that comes into a classroom. He reminded me again of how all of us thrive when we have healthy relationships, the ability to succeed, opportunity to make decisions about things that matter to us and a sense of purpose in all we do.
Later in the week there were conversations with colleagues about, Teaching at the Pace of Learning. This phrase is food for thought. How is it possible to teach beyond or outside of the pace of learning? Imagine if a student is not yet ready for the new learning or if a student has mastered the concepts we are teaching? Is it really a teaching and learning relationship then? Or are we both filling in time.
Still, I know it is a challenge, how do we enable teaching at the pace of learning? So many good ideas were shared in our conversation. Ideas put forward included, refreshers for students at any point in a course, ‘Blue Pencil Cafe’ – a meeting where students mentor each other, providing pace support for students, identifying the critical learning so that a student is ready to tackle the next level successfully, and, identifying the real needs of an individual student, which comes back full circle to Martin Brokenleg’s session on Monday.
One last conversation was about assessment. Of course, what teacher conversation would be complete without a discussion on assessment? Think the words we use. Whenever I am working away at giving students feedback on assignments I consider that what I am doing is this, ‘supporting student success‘. My colleague uses the following words which resonated with me, ‘assessment embedded instruction’. Yes! instruction is guided by student needs. And somehow I feel like this brings us back full circle once again.