What can we learn from kids
If you still care and wonder about past student learners you have taught, then you will understand how thrilled I was to receive this message via LinkedIn this morning:
A VERY long time ...
Memories came flooding back of the first day of school, and a four and a half year old boy walking into the prep classroom, looking up at me as I greeted him, saying ‘I can read the newspaper.’
It turned out that not only could Neil read the newspaper, he was a great thinker and learner. What a challenge to meet in one’s second year of teaching, when most of the other prep children had just arrived in Australia by boat from Greece or Italy.
As I strove to address Neil’s learning needs, (not very successfully as I now reflect), a lifelong interest in individual differences and diversity was born, leading several years later to a post-graduate degree in Special Education and a thesis in Giftedness.
We often think about the impact we have, and want to have, on the student learners we teach. I wonder how often we think of the impact they have on us, and what we have to learn from them.
Not only did I learn from Neil the importance of recognising and building on from where all children were in their learning, I learned about the importance of retaining a sense of humour:
I remember one day saying to the preps: ‘If you want to be packed up in time for the bell, you’ll have to pull your socks up!’ He looked at me and quietly said with a knowing smile: ‘Mrs Dalton, haven’t you noticed - some of the kids aren’t wearing socks.’
As your 2020 school year gets underway: (whether you lead student or adult learners)
- What is the impact you want to have on the learners you work with this year? What difference do you want to make?
- What do your learners have to teach you? What do you want to learn from them?
- How might you have a conversation with learners about this, along with how you see your role and how they see their role, so they understand that we are all learners and we are all teachers/leaders?
I’d love to hear about the impact learners have had on you, and what you’ve learned from them.
This personal story is intended to begin what I anticipate will be regular Blogs during 2020.
My next Blog will share something of my forthcoming new book, Learning Culture for Learning Impact, which is now with the wonderful NZ Design Team @ Smartwork Creative, who no doubt will bring it to life as they’ve done with my series of Learning Talk books.