Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wish You Were Here

So, so you think you can tell;
Heaven from Hell, Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil? Do you think you can tell?
                                                -Pink Floyd

If someone were to walk into your classroom and ask you to produce evidence of the learning taking place in your classroom, what would you show them?

          ·         Would you point to test scores?
          ·         Would you point to posters on the wall?
          ·         Would you hand them a portfolio of writings?
          ·         Would it be completed worksheets?
          ·         Would it be essays?

What are the true artifacts of learning?

Learning is defined by Merriam-Webster as follows:
         1.       to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience 
          2.       to come to be able 
          3.       to come to realize 
          4.       to come to know 
          5.       to acquire knowledge or skill or a behavioral tendency

So, I ask again: What are the true artifacts of learning?

The true artifacts of learning are produced over an extended period of time, years in most cases depending upon the subject or material. Learning is retained beyond next week’s test, or mid-term, or final; learning surfaces years down the line. So, is there nothing you can show a person who asks for evidence?

I believe there is and it is quite simple: Desire, curiosity, and an internal drive to do well in your learners. So, when someone walks in and asks for evidence you don’t point to papers or web pages; point to your learners and observe them.

Ask these questions:
          1.       Are they engaged?
          2.       Is their motivation internal or external?
          3.       Are they pausing to consider or rushing to finish?
          4.       Are they sharing their ideas and asking for others?
          5.       Are they asking, seeking, and unsatisfied?
          6.       Are they accepting or questioning what you say?

The true artifacts of learning are the learners. Tell me, what do your learners look like?

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