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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Learning is not Magic; but often Magical

Learning may be magical, but it is not magic, and that's important for students to understand.

I am moving into a period of teaching where I am emphasizing pride, precision, and responsibility. I want students to understand that the time they devote to practice, asking question, precise work, review, and reflection truly leads to good learning. Learning is not magic.

Today I will spend some time during the math class introducing new information, and some time reviewing past information. As I introduce new information, the lesson will be straightforward and explicit. Then I'll open up the teaching/learning time to practice when students have some choice about whom they work with, where they work, and how they tackle the practice options available.

At the start of the lesson, I'll spend a few minutes discussing this phrase which I'll write on the board, "Learning is not Magic." I'll ask students to talk about what that means, and then we'll spend a minute or two affirming that any good learning takes time and practice. I'll end with the statement that teachers are there to help them learn, help them practice, and help them attain the goals they seek to meet.

So far most of our learning minutes have been well spent--students are eager to do well, and their parents are very supportive too. Hopefully, the learning we strive for, while not magic, will often be magical, and that will be the focus of a later discussion and learning project.