I read a comment on a feedback form that said, “These are great ideas, but how do they apply to math classes?”
Every educator, including me, wants ideas and examples directly for the work they do. That is human nature.
On the other hand, I have always focused on how I make these connections myself and make my learning personal.
For example, I find value in everyone professional learning opportunity that I take part in because I do my best to make sense of myself. The ideas may not apply directly to my work, but I make the learning personal by making my own connections.
In the “Innovation in the boxI discuss how important it is to be “attentive” and how important it is in our world today:
As we get more and more information and the “noise” gets louder, the ability to slow down, listen, find great information and make deep connections becomes more and more important. For example, if you’re new to a social media platform, finding relevant and meaningful information feels like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It seems impossible and overwhelming. You develop the ability to find wisdom nuggets and powerful links to information over time. And it is a skill that is directly related to two of the “21st Century Literacy” presented by the 21st Council of English Teachers (NCTE):
• Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple simultaneous flows of information
• Create, criticize, analyze and evaluate multimedia texts
In short, this knowledge is based on our ability (and that of our students) to pay attention to the right information – not all information.
Be attentive requires critical thinking when we decide and decipher what we should hear.
The ability to be attentive to where we find and make our connections is a key feature of “The innovators’ mindset. ”It’s the ability to find ideas and create learning for yourself.
Years ago when I was a basketball referee, I wanted to do an incredible job. As a big basketball fan, I’ve seen thousands of games in my life, but when I became a civil servant, I no longer saw the games but the referees. I would learn how to move, how to interact with coaches and players, how to make calls from many aspects of the game. What struck me was that I could learn from referees who were at the top of their game and from those who had problems. I would also watch referees in various sports where I was not an official. The rules and the game weren’t the same, but I was able to create and combine my learning.
I have the same attitude towards professional learning. What I learned from “learning” as a referee, I applied to my knowledge as an educator. Yes, the PD may not be specific to what I do, but what can I learn and create for myself?
It is more necessary than ever for our students and ourselves to take responsibility for our own learning. Katie Martin shares the following in their post “Why a sense of purpose is more important than ever for distance learning“:
“If we are on the other side of this crisis, I will be satisfied when I know that my children are more resilient and understand that life is unpredictable, but that it does not have the skills to navigate and manage things as expected. ”
Great educators at all levels can provide ideas and inspiration. Still, I really believe that the most important thing we can develop in others is the ability to create learning for yourself.
Learning is more effective in the long term if we can do it for ourselves.
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