Monday, January 07, 2013

Children: Perfect Navigators in the Info-Laden World

Daily, I'm both amazed and overwhelmed at the information and potential that exists today.  As a grade school teacher I continually have to stop and prioritize because what's possible to teach is limitless.  Thank goodness I work with children or I might travel down paths of no return.  Instead I stay steady because children are the navigators; they never let me stray too far from a meaningful focused path of teaching and learning.

So as I ponder my classroom work and efforts, I observe where I am being led by those I serve, the children.

First they lead me to writing and multimedia composition. They have stories to tell and information to analyze.  Children aren't born with the skill of writing and organizing thoughts in clever, creative, clear and concise ways.  Hence, it's a worthy area of coaching, teaching and practice.

Next, there's reading.  My curious students enjoy a good book and research.  The better they grasp the strategies and habits of good readers, the better they'll be able to use this medium for pleasure and productivity.  Hence, they take me down the path of reading instruction and growth.

Then, mathematical understanding and facility.  For most, the relationships within and amongst numbers are not automatic or even second nature, instead there's a need for practice, play, discussion, problem solving and explicit instruction.  Many mathematical concepts, skills and knowledge areas have been laid out for us to investigate, explore and master, and that path is not an easy one.  Like learning an instrument or strengthening a sports skill this endeavor takes daily practice--practice that challenges and strengthens students' understanding.

Project/problem base learning. Students are dulled if information is spoon fed to them.  They lose interest and intent.  Hence, they lead us to roads of learning design where we create environments that foster collaborative work and individual pursuit.

These are only a few of the many categories that students lead us down each day.  There are so many more, and I can best do my work by listening to my guides, the children, and helping them to achieve a foundation that will give them a steady path and keen vision in their future.